Growing up gay in the Midwest isn’t easy. But when you’re an Asian kid adopted into a white, evangelical Christian family you’ve got to learn to laugh or you’ll cry.
Fortunately Joel Kim Booster did just that: A rising star on the comedy scene, Booster just hosted his first Comedy Central stand-up special this weekend and is getting ready to drop his first album, Model Minority, on November 3. Unsurprisingly, much of his comedy comes from his cross-cultural upbringing: “As you can imagine, it was a little weird growing up in the Midwest with this face and that family,” he told Splitsider. “I literally knew I was gay before I knew I was Asian.”
Adding to that sense of isolation was the fact that Booster was homeschooled until he was 16.
“My parents… didn’t want me knowing about sex or evolution. As a result, now I don’t know about states, either. I recently had to ask a friend, ’What is Oklahoma?'”
Though he’s appeared on Conan, written for Billy on the Street, and has a development deal with Fox, Booster’s folks are ambivalent about his career. They appreciate his success but they’re not thrilled with the content of his comedy.
“They definitely would not like me talking about my sex life,” he says. “They barely like to acknowledge my personal life when we are chatting on the phone.”
Even his coming out was awkward (Well, more awkward than most): “They read my journal when I was 17,” he reveals in the special. “At that time, my journal wasn’t an introspective thoughts-and-dreams journal. It was more of a Buzzfeed listicle of guys dicks I was sucking.”