Hannah Roeschlein: Asian-American Psycho.

Gorilla Records: Hannah Roeschlein’s A Funny, Promising Emerging Voice Who Happens To Be An ‘Asian-American Psycho’

Recovery is a difficult thing to go through, to make your own, and to find a unique identity in as one of many who are on a similar road. It’s also something that is hard to make funny, since stand-up tends to favor comedy that isn’t about substance abuse, or anything else that lends itself to real sincerity. On Asian American Psycho, Hannah Roeschlein works around her addiction, using it as a buffer to bounce wild jokes and tangents off of while performing in front of people who love her. The album feels like a comic in the middle of finding her voice, but is willing to get there by sharing her truth with audiences as much as she can. 

Hannah Roeschlein can conjure weird, fun lines from nowhere.

The album primarily works through the complex story of Roeschlein’s growing up as an Asian person in po’dunk, primarily white Clay City in Indiana, while also being the daughter of a pentecostal-esque pastor. The jokes move along those important routes, but every so often, she’ll share lines like““I took 250 milligrams of edibles, and then I started touching myself to videos of Kyle Rittenhouse crying. So mommy is wiped out!” Here, the joke would have worked with any odd or surprising imagery, but Rittenhouse crying is an especially vivid image that also speaks to a sense of power non-white people might be able to claim over racists. There’s also the opener, which includes this opinion on JonBenet Ramsey:


“I miss that young bitch everyday. God bless her. I see a TikTok nowadays, and I think, ‘she’d be killing on there.’ Cute looks for quarantine, you know? I learned good lessons from her. She’s the only reason I’m nice to my little brother, dude. God bless JBR. If you guys are like, wow, you’re going all in on that ghost right away? Absolutely dude.”


The most famous joke about the dead child star might be from David Spade, but it’s rare to hear a joke about her in 2023. This ability to swerve and be silly is something that makes Roeschlein reliably engaging. Even if she’s going through a story with clear-cut beats, you know there’s a chance she’ll find a minute to make odd, silly stray observations.

Roeschlein knows how to find layers to an easy story, and have those layers pay out.

After we learn that Roeschlein is 1,313 days sober from alcohol, she discusses one of the struggles that follow sobriety at times: suicide. She shares the importance of having a reason to live, with one of hers being seeing Justin Bieber in concert, before getting four different layers of comedy into a joke about it. The joke is:


“Anyone in here seen Bieber on tour? Get on it! It’s something to see dudes. I’ve seen his last two tours at fucking Market Square Arena Bankers Life Game Bridge or whatever it’s called. Took my kid sister to the second one, but honestly it was kind of for me. Watching Bieber is fire dude! I’ve never done heroin but he made me kind of feel like I knew! I know this tour will be a little soft. He’s married now, found Jesus all the way. But around the time of fucking Purpose, he exploded out of a screen like I said, over there by the field house, and flew across all of us on angel wings. Dude, all I knew was that every single person around me was wet. Soccer moms. Gays. Me. You didn’t know if you were crying or secreting. He was incredible.”


To see how the joke works, one can also follow the layers of it:


Layer 1 - The premise of seeing Bieber in concert is followed by a very silly joke about the terrible and convoluted names of sports arenas


Layer 2 - After continuing to create an upbeat energy in the build, there’s a slight dunk on the “wife guy Christian adult” version of Bieber, which isn’t audibly funny, but creates a space for snark 


Layer 3 - We hit the image of Bieber flying across the audience, which is beautifully dumb


Layer 4 - Roeschlein ends with word play that isn’t groan-worthy or easy. Crying and secreting have a pronounced middle part of the word, making the pickup comedic.

Roeschlein makes her origin story sing on stage.

After going through all the iterations of who asians had to look up to in the late 1980s/1990s/early 2000s, which highlights both gatekeeping and the icons who blazed a trail for there to be (somewhat) better representation now, Roeschlein shares that “The only person I knew who had the exact same build as me. Fifty percent Filipino. Fifty percent German heritage, was Rob Schneider.”  The way she knew this is because “My mom had a Filipino magazine sent to the cornfield as a kid for the culture.” There’s something so incongruent about Rob Schneider compared to the women who were striving to be taken seriously, that it’s funny and slightly sad in equal measure. 


When she talks about faking speaking in tongues as a teenager, she begins to step into the world of religious jokes, which had such an influx in the 90s and early 2000s that it’s hard to say something interesting, or avoid the easy rhythm of gently mocking Jesus while trying not to lose audience members. Here, Roeschlein finds a new on-ramp to discussing her experience, focusing on the labor of it, and cracking “I grew up doing heavy crossfit, where I was like, ‘dad, isn’t eight years old a little young to be hunting the anti-Christ?’” The joke kills, and Roeschlein continues on in her set to impress and surprise at five years in to her comedy career.

Hannah Roeschlein: Asian-American Psycho.
Hannah Roeschlein: Asian-American Psycho.

Stream & download Hannah Roeschlein's comedy album Asian-American Psycho available on 800 Pound Gorilla & everywhere you listen to comedy!

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