Yumi Nagashima grew up in Tokyo before moving to Vancouver and diving into the comedy scene. She went on to become a finalist in the Yuk Off Competition in 2016 and 2017. She will be joining a group of 604 Records comedians on the Busload of Fun tour in early Spring 2019.
Her cheeky comedy explores tropes of her Japanese heritage and the taboo of sex and womanhood. With track titles like “Creepy White Man” and “Independent Woman,” Yumi adds a much-needed layer of intelligent humour and racial critique to the #MeToo movement. Her wickedly funny debut album drops today. Listen here.
We caught up with her this week.
SDTC: When and where do you feel most content/at ease?
YN: When I feel connected to the audience on stage.
What food/dish always satisfies you?
“Hire-Katsu” (pork fillet cutlet).
What film/show has recently wowed you?
Tidying up with Marie Kondo. To declutter our spaces is to declutter our lives.
What’s on your current reading list?
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, The Artist Way Julia Cameron, and The Music of Words by Haruki Murakami.
Who/what has influenced your comedy the most?
Bo Burnham, Dave Chappelle and Wanda Sykes.
What is your mantra these days?
Always do your best.
What Toronto places do you truly love?
Bamboo Garden Health Centre. Their foot & body massage combo is amazing!!!
What exhibit/museum/site are you dying to see?
Royal Ontario Museum! ROM!
Your go-to coping mechanism/self-care?
Get massage from Colleen at Queen’s Feet (Vancouver) while stoned.
What five things would you want if you were deserted on an island?
Brita water filter, blow torch, sleeping bag, Olay facial cleanser for sensitive skin and Wi-Fi.
What’s a childhood memory that always brings a smile to your face?
Japanese summer festival! My sister and I wore Yukata (summer cotton Kimono) and ate market foods! Mmm!
What life philosophy is currently helping to guide your journey?
“Many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brain or even courage, but simply because they have never organized their energies around a goal.” – Elbert Hubbard
One skill you’d love to learn/nurture/improve this year?
To be tech savvy.
What’s a piece of career advice that has served you well?
Be unique & original.
What outfit makes you feel the most you?
1940s-inspired quirky dress.
What toy/book have you held onto since you were small?
Marie Kondo told me to say thank you and let them go so…
What’s a subject that is currently holding your attention?
My boyfriend’s snoring.
When you compare yourself now to where you were at ten years ago, what’s a major change you can identify?
I definitely have more sense of what I really want and what makes me truly happy.
Goal(s) for 2019?
To be on The Ellen Show.