The glamorous lifestyle of the characters in Crazy Rich Asians has seeped into the fashion of Jimmy O. Yang, the comedian best known as the taciturn, chain-smoking Jian-Yang on Silicon Valley. As we sit in a conference room in Thrillist's New York offices, he shows me the 1968 Rolex around his wrist. It's an item he acquired after becoming friendly with author Kevin Kwan, who wrote the novel about the upper (upper upper) echelon of Singaporean society the critically-acclaimed rom-com is based on.
"It's so beautiful to me now and I'm able to appreciate it," Yang says about his wrist accoutrement. "I'm very thankful to have known Kevin to have shown me this better world. But at the same time I wish I had never seen and just be okay with wearing sweatpants from H&M."
In the movie, Yang plays Bernard Tai, a bombastic playboy who frequently has his shirt open. (According to the book, he is known for his "brave sartorial statements.") Bernard throws the most ridiculous bachelor party anyone could possibly imagine for Colin Khoo (Chris Pang). The movie's hero, Nick Young (Henry Golding), has brought his girlfriend, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), to his home country for the first time for Colin's nuptials, but the central couple is separated for the gender-based pre-festivities. Bernard's plans involve taking a helicopter to a cargo ship marooned on the open sea and filled with loud party music and legions of models in bikinis.
Bernard is quite a change from the role Yang is best known for on the techy hit HBO comedy. Over the years, Jian-Yang has morphed from the incubator's comic relief to a full-fledged antihero. Meanwhile, Yang's profile has risen. This year he published How to American: An Immigrant's Guide to Disappointing Your Parents, a memoir about coming to America at age 13 from Hong Kong and entry into comedy.
After a photoshoot in our studio -- where he was eager to play with some props -- Yang settled in for a conversation about how Crazy Rich Asians with its historic cast is set to open so many doors.