Comedian Atsuko Okatsuka keeps a cool head. She first went viral in 2019, when an earthquake interrupted her stand-up set and she remained onstage and kept joking to keep the audience calm. During the tough days of the pandemic, her dancing – often with her mom and grandma – made her a viral sensation again. She started the Drop Challenge – a move that involves a low squat to a Beyoncé song while staring directly into the camera.
Being able to make light of heavier topics is what makes Atsuko’s comedy brilliant. Her debut comedy special The Intruder aired on HBO last December. As the name of the title suggests, it’s about the time someone tried breaking into her house. But, the show goes into a lot more than that. There are lots of stories about Atsuko’s life and family. She talks about navigating her mother’s mental illness and trying to impress teenagers. She also jokes about being undocumented for seven years and attending a Magic Mike Live show with her grandmother. Her offbeat style and precise pacing makes The Intruder a great watch.
Atsuko sat down with Bullseye to talk about how recording videos on social media with her family brought them closer together, what it was like bringing her grandma on her honeymoon and much more!
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Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.
Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.
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