Cold Tofu

History

 

History

COLD TOFU was founded in 1981 by Marilyn Tokuda and Denice Kumagai who joined forces with Judy Momii and Irma Escamilla to start the nation's first and longest running Asian American improv and comedy troupe.  During a time when comedy was not a viable path for Asian American performers, these four founding members wanted to provide opportunities for Asian American actors to perform and explore comedy.  Stocked with six-packs and chips, the core group met regularly at each other’s homes exploring new territory – Asian American comedy. Though touted as being the first Asian American improv group, COLD TOFU's roots are multi-cultural. Early members include Amy Hill, Phil LaMarr, Jerry Tondo, Jim MacNerland, Geoff Rivas, and Robert Covarrubias.

The group built its foundation by working with noted directors and coaches such as Stephen Book (founder of Improvisational Acting Technique, and co-worker of Viola Spolin), Gary Austin (creator of THE GROUNDLINGS), and Andy Goldberg (director of OFF THE WALL at The Improv).

Marilyn Tokuda and Denice Kumagai led COLD TOFU and shared the role of Artistic Director. In 1993, Robert Covarrubias and Helen Ota took over as co-Artistic Directors and served the organization until 2000 when Helen Ota would continue to serve as the sole Artistic Director. In 2013, Jully Lee was appointed the position.

COLD TOFU CORE ALUMNI

Judy Momii
Scott Nagatani
Phil Nee
Kevin Ocampo
Tom Oshiro
Helen H. Ota (AD Emeritus)
Michael C. Palma (Associate AD)*
Zakiyah Reagan
Geoff Rivas
Sab Shimono
Aaron Takahashi
Marilyn Tokuda (AD Emeritus)
Jerry Tondo
Wanru Tseng
Michael Villanueva
James Wong
Steve Brady
Glen Chin
Will Choi 
Corinne Chooey*
Robert Covarrubias (AD Emeritus)
Irma Escamilla
Jason Fong
Scott Fujimoto
Amy Hill
Denise Iketani
Lisa Jeffers
Denice Kumagai (AD Emeritus)
Jully Lee (Artistic Director)*
Phil LaMarr
Jim MacNerland
Dom Magwili
Joey Miyashima

*Denotes active member

ASSOCIATE AND guest performers

Yumi Iwama
Rodney Kageyama
John Lau
Jhemon Lee
June Kyoko Lu
Marc Macalintal
David Ono
Steve Park
Shawn Patrick
Tamlyn Tomita
Peter Varvel
Kristina Wong
Shannon Wong
Johnny Ye
Aaron Aoki
Keiko Agena
Robert Beltran
Janice Bremic
Kerry Carnahan
Carin Chea
Glen Chin
Davis Choh
MJ Deocariza
Takayo Fischer
Mike Hagiwara
Terry Hara
Alvin Ing
Jim Ishida