‘Awkwafina is Nora From Queens’ Pilot Review: The Title Says It All

An awkward title summarizes what this show is about: Awkwafina (whose real name is Nora Lum) and her hypothetical life as a deadbeat twentysomething, stoned and living with her family out in Queens with the support of her father and grandmother.

Partially inspired by Awkwafina’s real life, the show is a bit of a take on the potential life the star comedian could be living had she never gotten famous. All told with the comedic stylings of Broad City type of comedy; as a star comedic character who is self-obsessed and loves smoking weed, fails her way through life and gets by through the support of others.

It’s a relatable premise to the aging millennial and still figuring themselves out type of crowd that I know of (myself, somewhat included in this demographic) though is also surrounded by other shows on the network which has similar themes. It’s also awkward and roughly edited with long pauses and moments of elongated expressions for the sake of the joke. Though this is only the pilot episode.

What makes this one unique is how it tries to address the Asian family. With gems such as:

“Where does commutes live, I wanna eat her ass.”

“Grandma… it’s beat her ass.”

Replace best friendship with an Asian family, and it’s pretty noticeable that there’s a lot of similarities between ‘Broad City’ and ‘Awkwafina is Nora From Queens’. Both take place in a New York outer borough. Both have unabashed female star-driven comedy.

What’s different is that this show also takes on Awkwafina’s brand — stylized with her signature zany take on Asian American stereotypes. With references to being a disappointment in having a low 2.0 GPA and a certificate form ITT tech, to having an overly successful app-developing cousin (Bowen Yang from Saturday Night Live) earning millions in Palo Alto. Though most significant is Awkwafina’s living situation at home with her father (BD Wong from Mr. Robot and Jurrasic Park) and rambunctious Grandmother, played by (Lori Tan Chinn from Orange Is the New Black) —who is about as unabashed in talking about her vagina, as much as Awkwafina is about showing hers off in this pilot episode (Mostly for censored toilet humor and liberating public indecency).

With dirty jokes and cringe-worthy idiocy, I’ll admit that the show is funny. About as on par with other Comedy Central budding adult shows produced in the past dating back to the Sarah Silverman Program. But it is also a bit stale as Comedy Central has been bloated with this same type of slacker twenty-something stoner premise dating back to workaholics. And likely even before that time.

Likely the biggest takeaway to me was Awkwafina’s dedication. As there are some very funny physical comedy moments, especially in the pilot where she proves to be the most antsy Uber driver I think I’ve ever seen (though absolutely believed was possible), and later, live streams with her best friend for 420CamChicks.com. As an awkwardly broke Awkwafina dances in a dragon costume — her tail quite literally on fire.

It’s obvious why Comedy Central has already renewed the series for a second season — partially, because of the void left by Broad City, but also because the comedian has been incredibly successful as of late. With a hilarious supporting role in ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and ‘Ocean’s 8’, to her Golden Globe-winning performance in ‘The Farewell’.

And, if you read my reviews,  she also did a surprisingly spot-on Danny DeVito impersonation and was a comedic highlight all throughout Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Overall, I recommend the show if you like Awkwafina or Stoner Comedies. All with an Asian twist.


You can watch ‘Awkwafina is Nora From Queens’ Wednesdays at 10:30 on Comedy Central


And until this link expires, you can also watch the Pilot Episode right here:


Christian Angeles
Christian Angeles
Christian Angeles is a screenwriter who likes sharing stories and getting to meet people. He also listens to words on the page via audible and tries to write in ways that make people feel things. All on a laptop. Sometimes from an app on his phone.

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