HomeJapanese AmericanTim Conway Jr's Vic the Brick sketch accused of fueling anti-Asian hate

Tim Conway Jr’s Vic the Brick sketch accused of fueling anti-Asian hate

By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent

When Keith Kawamoto heard a bit by Tim Conway Jr on KFI-AM 640 imitating a Japanese American woman, Kawamoto “couldn’t believe” they were doing that.

The sketch on May 3 involved the long time Los Angeles radio host supposedly interviewing the wife of sportscaster Vic the Brick Jacobs, Yuko Sakamoto.

Producer and voice talent Sheron Bellio played Sakamoto.

“The imitation was so stereotypical with the character saying “Moshi-moshi” & “Ah-so” type comments in a sing-song voice interspersed with karate screams with gongs gonging in the background,” Kawamoto said to AsAmNews.

Kawamoto showed AsAmNews an email from Conway denying the intention of the sketch was to mock Asians.

“It wasn’t an attack on Asian Americans. It was an impersonation of Vic the Brick Jacobs who is known for his Zen sayings, Haikus and his wife’s name happens to be Yuko – it would’ve been the same impersonation if her name was Jane Wells,” Conway, the son of the late comedian Tim Conway, wrote.

AsAmNews reached out to both the show and the programming department at KFI.

“The last thing we wanted to do was hurt anybody,” said program director Robin Bertolucci in a phone interview with AsAmNews. “The whole thing was that people start acting as their spouses.”

Assistant Program Director Neil Saavedra explained that Jacobs is an over- the-top personality who wears “funny hats” and regularly recites haikus and uses gongs as part of his normal routine.

“The voice you’re hearing is not an Asian tonality. Its them doing an impersonation of Vic,” he said.

“Under the microscope of the horrendous stories (anti-Asian hate) going on in our community, we can hear why that would have landed differently.”

Here’s the sketch. You can decide for yourself.

Saavedra said they would like to have an on air conversation with Sakamoto about what happened. They are also open to inviting a representative of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans which Sakamoto has reached out to for support.

Saavedra asked us to listen to a video of Jacobs alongside the bit done by Conway and Bellio.

“The segment was inappropriate & offensive & shouldn’t have been allowed to broadcast,” Kawamoto said.  “Especially in the wake of all the anti-Asian hate, it is particularly irresponsible.  It could be seen as encouraging racists to think, “If he can do it, so can I!”

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4 COMMENTS

  1. The bit was boring and unfunny

    However Keith the complainer who got “offended” should change his name to Karen Kawamoto and head back to his safe space with his coloring book

  2. I do remember the bit when it aired. Even though I am a fan of the Tim Conway Jr show, I WAS surprised and irritated by it. They thought it was harmless but it reflects attitudes that are years in the making. If you really look at TV shows, movies, and commercials for the past 10-15 years (at least) with the BlackLives Matter movement, Asians have been slowly replaced so that the actors are only Blacks and Whites. The main character is always White, but the best friend, boss, and head of Government is almost always Black (this is particularly true on the Hallmark Channel TV movies). The implication or message that is sent to the viewing public is that Asians are NOT a part of ‘OUR’ society — the subtle message is that Asians are not the friends, neighbors, or co-workers. Asian actors are totally missing. In the few times the media/studio includes an Asian, they have him/her speak with an accent (even if the Actor does not have the accent) and/or the Asian plays a spy. I mentioned Hallmark, but the same could also be said about NCIS and even Hawaii Five-O, among other TV shows and movies.

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