If you need something to laugh at–and who doesn’t?–a quick fix can be found with Comedy Central’s series Nora from Queens (full title Awkwafina is Nora from Queens), and right when we need her, she’s back with an all-new second season beginning tonight on Comedy Central. The series of half-hour episodes is a semi-autobiographical look at Awkwafina, stage name of rapper/actor Nora Lum, who switches up her name slightly to Nora Lin for the series. Viewers will find a lot of truth with Nora, whose real-life persona won a Golden Globe best actress for The Farewell, and she’s had breakout roles in Ocean’s 8, Crazy Rich Asians, and Jumanji: The Next Level. Has any actor had a better year than Awkwafina? She was the voice of comic relief Sisu in Disney’s best animated film in years, Raya and the Last Dragon and she’s co-starring in Marvel’s latest superhero blockbuster, Shang-Chi and The Legend of the The Rings–and she’s in Disney’s new, live-action The Little Mermaid.
Check out a preview for the new season below.
Just don’t let the kids in the room–Awkwafina’s humor is over-the-top, all-out vulgar at times, and right there with Sarah Silverman’s stand-up comedy, even evoking some Cheech and Chong ghosts of comedy past. As with the real Nora, Nora in the series was born of a Korean American mother (who died when Nora was young) and Chinese American father, and raised by her father and grandmother. Here BD Wong (Jurassic Park, Mr. Robot, Awake, Gotham) plays her amiable dad, a single father whose own mother lives with him and Nora (creating the core of the humor). Looking for a girlfriend, he sets his sights on a woman he meets at a single parent support group, played by Jennifer Esposito (Spin City, The Boys). Nora is frequently entwined in chaos with her nerdy but somehow more successful cousin, played by Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live), proclaimed 2020 as “Year of the Ass.”
But the best of the series is Nora’s sweet, mouthy, and feisty grandma, played by Lori Tan Chinn (Roseanne, Spin City, Orange is the New Black), who looks to be back in full force for Season 2. Chinn has all the range, and gets the best writing and dialogue in the show, crude and endearing at the same time, like Ruth Gordon in Every Which Way But Loose. Grandma goes to the casino, but not to gamble, instead to watch Korean dramas with her friends.
You can’t not love Nora/Awkwafina. Nora/Awkwafina is the real deal, able to slip in and out of accents, emotions, and physical comedy. Her character is a complete disaster, her car gets impounded, her bank account is canceled, she’s jealous of her cousin, gets too much into a new job, and experiences other more… vulgar… personal problems. Her relationship with her dad and grandma feels real, and much of the show’s success is due to the chemistry of the main cast.
Here’s a look at Season 2 of Nora from Queens:
And some bits from last season…
Nora from Queens has bits and pieces in common with quick-fix, comedy series of the past like Daria, The Nanny, Angie Tribeca, Beevis and Butthead, Fleabag, and Russian Doll. Viewers can approach Nora from Queens as raunchy comedy or a drama about a few days in the life of a young woman getting by (but it’s mostly hilarious comedy).
Ten quick half-hour episodes of the first season are available to stream on Comedy Central. Set your DVR–Nora from Queens returns tonight, with new episodes airing Wednesday nights on comedy Central.
C.J. Bunce / Editor / borg