I think I would have done very well as a writer in the Forties. I think the last time America was a great country was then or not long after. It was before Vietnam, before Watergate.
Natto, Japanese ferment bean paste, will never cross my lips again. Spam Musubi, on the other hand, is something I love. I used to have a roommate of Vietnamese descent, and he would eat it all the time. It looked gross, but I finally had it - wrapped in seaweed and rice - it was terrific.
I used to say, 'Mad' takes on both sides.' We even used to rake the hippies over the coals. They were protesting the Vietnam War, but we took aspects of their culture and had fun with it. 'Mad' was wide open.
During Vietnam, I was in college, enjoying my student deferment. The government wisely felt that, in my case, military service was less important than completing my studies to prepare me for my chosen career: comedian.
The civil rights movement was very important in my house, and then Vietnam was very important 'cause there were two boys, so I came of age during a very heated political climate.
I got interested in politics during the civil rights movement and then Vietnam.
I'm from the Vietnam generation. I didn't serve.
Television and movies were our biggest teachers. When we came to the United States, the Vietnam War was just ratcheting up. And so the Asian faces that I saw on the news, they were the face of the enemy. Asian men, particularly, were either small, ineffective, or they were evil. And those messages were deeply, deeply embedded in me for many years.
We didn't lose Vietnam. We quit Vietnam.
I wasn't happy with the outcome in Vietnam. Now, I've never said that, but, you know, I'm getting to an age where I think I'd better start saying it... And I don't mean that to sound that I'm being critical of somebody or blaming somebody.