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An Asian American Comedy Milestone Riffs on a Kung-Fu Icon

An Asian American Comedy Milestone Riffs on a Kung-Fu Icon

The first time I ever watched Bruce Lee was in a hotel rec room. It was 1980, I was eight, and the San Diego hotel where my family was staying had set up a projector screen next to the pool table. Enter the Dragon was playing. I’m not sure how much of the film’s storyline I followed then, but I do remember bounding out of that room, excited to practice kicks and punches. Luckily, no one had left out a spare set of nunchucks.

As was the case with many other Asian American Gen-X men, I viewed Lee with awe. He was one of the first—and only—Asian pop heroes I had ever seen. That was the gift and curse he gave to us. Lee was a generational icon, but his singular prominence in the American cultural landscape meant that many of us grew up with non-Asians constantly making jokes that compared us to him.

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