Charlyne Yi

Active - 2007 - Present  |   Born - Mar 4, 1986 in Los Angeles, California, United States  |   Genres - Comedy

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Born in sunny southern California in 1986, actress and comedian Charlyne Yi started pursuing a full-time career in stand-up comedy when she was fresh out of high school. A strange and innovative mix of jokes, games, music, magic, and crowd participation, Yi's act carved out a niche in the comedy scene, and she soon began branching out. She appeared in a 2006 episode of 30 Rock, as well as in the 2008 comedy Semi-Pro, but many fans remembered her as the couch-dwelling stoner in 2007's Knocked Up.

In 2009, Yi expanded her canvas even further, writing, producing, and starring in the romcom Paper Heart. A creative mix of fiction and reality, Yi played a fictionalized version of herself in the film, in a scripted story about the comedienne working with a documentary crew to make a movie about her own search for love (and potentially finding it, with real-life boyfriend Michael Cera, who also played himself). However, the clips of interviewees in the movie-within-the-movie -- whom Yi questioned about their own insights on love and romance -- were all real, melding the fictional and documentary aspects of the film even further. It proved to be a winning combination, taking home the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival.

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Factsheet

  • Dropped out of college due to financial constraints and worked at a retail job before becoming a hit on L.A.'s comedy circuit.
  • Made film debut in Judd Apatow's 2007 comedy Knocked Up; performed with Apatow's stand-up troupe, Apatow for Destruction, at the 2008 Just for Laughs festival in Montreal. 
  • Starred in Paper Heart, a 2009 mockumentary about a woman filming a documentary about love (and falling for Michael Cera, who played himself); also cowrote the score and award-winning script and served as executive producer.
  • Has performed with a number of rock bands, including Helen Hunt and the Twisters, Old Lumps, Chandelier Teeth and the Glass Beef.