Japanese American comedian gets standing ovation from Simon Cowell on ‘America’s Got Talent’

Aiko Tanaka AGT Simon Cowell
  • Japanese American stand-up comedian Aiko Tanaka received four “yeses” and a standing ovation from judge Simon Cowell after showing a “funny and naughty” act, as Cowell described it, on Tuesday’s “America’s Got Talent” Season 17 audition.
  • Tanaka’s stand-up routine focused on her immigration experience in America.
  • All four judges expressed how much fun they had listening to Tanaka’s comedy routine, with Cowell describing her bit as “So funny. So naughty.”
  • “From the minute you walked out, you got us, you know. And the best sign if a comedian is doing well, obviously, is the audience,” Cowell continued. “And I really liked your reaction afterward, because I could see how much this reaction meant to you as well.”

A Japanese American stand-up comedian received four “yeses” from “America’s Got Talent” judges and a standing ovation from Simon Cowell after showing a “funny and naughty” act.

Aiko Tanaka auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” Season 17 on Tuesday. Tanaka, a Japanese-born comedian, tickled the funny bones of judges Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Cowell with her jokes about her immigration experience in America.

Tanaka swiftly captivated the audience with her quick wit as soon as she entered the stage. Speaking to the judges, Tanaka said she works as a translator for her day job, saying, “I love my job because when I screw up, I’m the only person who knows about it.”

Whether it was part of her act or not, Tanaka’s reply elicited laughter from the crowd and the judges, with Cowell visibly grinning from the joke.

I just got my citizenship,” the comedian said during her opening act after introducing herself. “Until I got my citizenship, I never had road rage. If somebody cuts me off, I’d be like, ‘Oh, so sorry I was driving too slow.’”

But the day I got the citizenship, somebody cut me off. I’m like, ‘What the heck? You can’t cut me off. This is my land,’” Tanaka said. “That’s when I realized I become a true American. Because I felt entitled.”

Tanaka’s comedy routine was so well-received by both the crowd and judges that they all gave her a standing ovation, including Cowell, who is notorious for being a tough judge to get a “yes” from.

When asked by Mandel why she was crying, Tanaka said, “I struggle with insecurity, or a lot of people say I cannot do it because this is not my language, but then I had one person who really believed in me, which is my mom.”

Last year during the pandemic, she passed away,” Tanaka continued. “She wanted me to go for my dream.”

All four judges expressed how much fun they had listening to Tanaka’s comedy routine, which Cowell described as “So funny. So naughty.”

From the minute you walked out, you got us, you know. And the best sign if a comedian is doing well, obviously, is the audience,” Cowell continued. “And I really liked your reaction afterward, because I could see how much this reaction meant to you as well.”

Born in Mitaka, Tokyo, Tanaka moved to the United States at 18, according to The Japan Times. She was scouted at clubs after landing dance gigs in Boston and later became a dancer on MTV’s “The Grind” and on “Soul Train.”

Tanaka has performed in Singapore and Malaysia with Comedy Central’s “Stand-Up Asia!” and for inmates in Los Angeles County jails.

 

Featured Image via America’s Got Talent

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