Doing Yellowface in the Movie “Humor Me”
There’s a movie on Amazon Prime right now that’s fairly recent titled, “Humor Me.” It’s not a high-budget feature film or anything that was meant to win awards, and it wouldn’t be a bad film if it wasn’t for one simple thing. They use yellowface. There’s a scene in the movie where they produce a haphazard version of The Mikado and the straight white women are all performing in yellowface. And it’s not like they had to use this play. I think any other play would have worked instead of The Mikado. It’s not a huge part of the storyline.
The problem is that no one else out there seems to find an issue with this. I’ve read reviews for “Humor Me” and even though most reviews are not kind to the film for various reasons, they don’t mention the yellowface scenes. They mention a lot of questionable ageist dialogue, but not the yellowface.
So I’m not even going to bother going into detail with “Humor Me.” Instead, I figured I would link to an article about why it’s so problematic for any film to still be doing yellowface after all these years, especially when they should know better by now. You would have thought that after Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s we would never see this happen again.
One such issue that has arisen in the last few days is the news that the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players would be performing, again, The Mikado, with a cast made up of primarily Caucasian performers (2 are Asian), which would mean that the Caucasian actors would be performing in “Yellowface” or make up design that would depict stereotypes of Asian people.
Here’s more. This reminds me of the ongoing discussion about straight actors playing gayface. It’s amazing how many people see nothing wrong with straights playing gay characters, and straights writing gay stories.
And, in case you want to see exactly what I’m talking about with “Humor Me” and straight white people dressed up as Asian people, here’s a link to YouTube where someone posted the scene. It was actually hard for me to watch again.
Amazon“A wonderful story that I loved. The characters were well developed, and strong. Gus: A sweet young man. Doing something for all the wrong reasons. Craig: his boyfriend, he’ll go along with anything Gus say. Henry: Gus father a no nonsense man, who’s husband died last year. I enjoyed this story.”What readers said about “Altered Parts”“Best Gay Novel In Years. This story will stay with you and you will feel you know every character and the beauty of their home in the mountains of North Carolina.”Altered Parts