Jimmy O. Yang (Chinese: 歐陽萬成; born June 11, 1987) is a Hong Kongese-American actor, stand-up comedian, and writer best known for starring as Jian-Yang in the HBO comedy series Silicon Valley.
Early life and education
Yang was born Au-yeung Man-Sing in Hong Kong. His parents were both originally from Shanghai and later moved to Hong Kong. In 2000, when Yang was thirteen years old, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Los Angeles, California. His aunt and grandmother were already living in the United States and his parents joined them primarily to allow Yang and his brother, Roy, access to better schools and education. When he arrived, he enrolled at John Burroughs Middle School for the eighth grade. He later attended Beverly Hills High School.
Yang graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in economics in 2009. The commencement speaker at his college graduation was his future Silicon Valley showrunner and fellow UCSD alumnus Mike Judge.
Yang did his first stand-up set at 21 years old as “Lowball Jim” at the Ha Ha Comedy Club in North Hollywood, Los Angeles.
After graduation, Yang interned at the financial consulting firm Smith Barney in Beverly Hills, California, but he found it unfulfilling and turned down their return offer. Instead, he returned to San Diego to finish his graduation requirements. He stayed in the city afterward, where he sold used cars, DJ’ed at a strip club, and seated customers at a comedy club to support himself financially while doing stand-up sets for free at The Comedy Palace. There, he met his mentor, Sean Kelly, a stand-up comedian who ran the venue and later went on to create the reality show Storage Hunters.
When he moved back to Los Angeles, he signed up for Central Casting, due to their low barrier of entry, and various casting websites. He was spurred to consider acting when a friend told him that there was money to be made in residual checks from commercials. In the interim, he did stand-up sets around Southern California and signed up for acting classes. Yang eventually found acting representation through Vesta Talent Agency.
Yang made his television debut on the CBS series 2 Broke Girls in 2012 and his first late night stand-up appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show in 2014. In season 9 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, he played the character Tang-See. Yang also appeared in an episode of Criminal Minds as Nathan Chow, a high-school student who suffered a psychotic break. He was once a writer/consultant for the Harlem Globetrotters, and voiced roles in the video game Infamous Second Son.
Yang initially began as a guest star on Silicon Valley making scale, then $900 per episode. He appeared in three episodes and spent the money on a Prius so he could drive for Uber to earn money between the first and second season of the show. For the second season, he was promoted to series regular. Prior to the announcement, he had landed a series regular role on the Yahoo! Screen original television show Sin City Saints, but turned down the opportunity because it would have required him to quit Silicon Valley. The series ran from 2014 to 2019.
Yang’s first dramatic role was as Dun “Danny” Meng, a Chinese immigrant who was carjacked by the Tsarnaev brothers in the 2016 action drama Patriots Day.
In 2018, he played Bernard Tai in the romantic comedy film Crazy Rich Asians, directed by Jon M. Chu.
On September 26, 2019, it was announced that Yang was cast as Dr. Chan Kaifang in the Netflix comedy series Space Force.
In 2020, he starred opposite Ryan Hansen in two films, Like a Boss and Fantasy Island, released a month apart. In the former film, their characters were business partners, and in the latter, they were step-siblings who were strongly fond of each other.
His comedy special Good Deal was released on Amazon Prime Video on May 8, 2020. He stars opposite Nina Dobrev in Netflix’s Love Hard, his first romantic film.
How to American
Yang is also the author of How to American: An Immigrant’s Guide to Disappointing Your Parents, a book in which “he shares his story of growing up as a Chinese immigrant who pursued a Hollywood career against the wishes of his parents.” Mike Judge wrote the book’s foreword.
Yang has also continued stand-up comedy, in 2018 going on a tour titled after the book.
|2012||2 Broke Girls||Person in Line||Episode: “And the Secret Ingredient”|
|2013||Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.||Chinese Teenager #1||Episode: “Girl in the Flower Dress“|
|2013||It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia||Tang-See||Episode: “Flowers for Charlie”|
|2014||Things You Shouldn’t Say Past Midnight||Phil||Recurring|
|New Girl||Steve||Episode: “Dice”|
|Criminal Minds||Nathan Chow||Episode: “Burn”|
|2014–2019||Silicon Valley||Jian-Yang||Recurring role (season 1); main role (seasons 2–6)|
|2015||Battle Creek||Chang||Episode: “Mama’s Boy”|
|2016||Those Who Can’t||James Chen||Guest, 3 episodes|
|Broken||Donny||Guest, 3 episodes|
|American Dad!||Hisashi (voice)||Episode: “The Enlightenment of Ragi-Baba”|
|2018||Another Period||Eng Bunker||Episode: “Lucky Chang’s”|
|The Simpsons||Sun Tzu (voice)||Episode: “No Good Read Goes Unpunished”|
|Drunk History||Genghis Khan||2 episodes|
|Fresh Off the Boat||Horace||3 episodes|
|2020||Space Force||Doctor Chan Kaifang||Recurring role|
|Good Deal||Himself||Standup Comedy Special|
|We Bare Bears: The Movie||Joey Raccoon (voice)||TV Movie|
|2013||The Internship||Wa Zao||Uncredited|
|2016||Patriots Day||Dun Meng|
|2017||El Camino Christmas||Mike the Cameraman|
|Life of the Party||Tyler|
|Crazy Rich Asians||Bernard Tai|||
|The Happytime Murders||Officer Delancey|
|2019||The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part||Zebe||Voice|
|2020||Like a Boss||Ron|
|Fantasy Island||Brax “Tattoo” Weaver|
|The Opening Act||Will Chu|
|2021||Love Hard||Josh Lin||Post-production|
|Wish Dragon||Small Goon (voice)||In production|
|2014||Infamous Second Son||Male Pedestrian #5||Voice|