by Patrick Strait
When you Google someone’s name, a list of predictive words and phrases will pop up in the search (as if you didn’t already know from Googling yourself).
Comedian Atsuko Okatsuka is an accomplished writer, actor and standup comedian. But the first thing that pops up when you Google her name is: Atsuko Okatsuka Hair.
“I don’t mind that at all,” Okatsuka says about her hair’s viral notoriety. “I like interacting with people a lot, and I like to hear from them because it helps me to service them. Like if people are Googling hair, it lets me know like, maybe I should do some new merch with just pictures of my hair or something.”
This week, Okatsuka and her hair will be making a stop at Turf Club with her new show, The Intruder.
While Okatsuka was in town this past winter opening for Mike Birbiglia, her new hour will be much different than what audiences might have caught the last time around.
“When we shut down for the pandemic, I just sort of looked inward and was like, I’m going to keep doing what I love which is to keep writing jokes,” she explains.
She was able to amass a new hour of material, but says that an incident that happened to her and her husband, along with some encouragement from Birbiglia, helped her to reshape what she was doing onstage.
“My husband and I had an intruder come to our house three times in the same day during the pandemic,” she says. “I was telling Mike this story and was like, ‘I really want to talk about it onstage it but I don’t know how to fit it into my act.’ And he said, ‘If he came back three times, that’s three acts.’ So I was able to reframe it in that context and now I have a lot more of a polished hour to bring to Minneapolis.”
Though the show may be a slight departure from the traditional structure of a standup comedy show, Okatsuka is sharp and witty enough that you’ll be realizing new aspects to jokes even after you leave the show.
After her show at Turf Club, Okatsuka will bring the show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a 25-day run this August, before recording it and performing it off-Broadway at a later date.
“All artists are like, ‘Is it really done?’ whenever they showcase a finished product,” she says. “But for me the story arch is much more polished and I’m excited about it.”
But with a one-woman show on the road, a slew of acting and writing credits, and an absolutely killer set from The Late Late Show with James Corden from late last year floating around online, what does Okatsuka really want to have show up when you Google her name?
“Net worth would be great,” she laughs.
IF YOU GO: Atsuko Okatsuka
Saturday, June 11
TICKETS + INFO >>
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