Eugene Lee Yang: I'm Gay
June 15, 2019 12:10 PM   Subscribe

Eugene Lee Yang (of the Buzzfeed-pals-turned-giant-YouTube-stars The Try Guys) [The Try Guys previously] comes out as gay in a fully-choreographed music video.
posted by Sokka shot first (43 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
That was exquisite.
posted by rdc at 12:22 PM on June 15, 2019

He is so talented and wonderful, and I'm glad he's getting to put his skills to use. This video definitely tugged at my heart quite a bit this morning. I love that in the past he has spent a lot of time discussing and celebrating Korean identity (such as in the K-pop series - which is about a lot more than K-pop), and I'm glad to see him celebrate his queerness more and more as well.
posted by obfuscation at 12:24 PM on June 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

(Also, if you have preconceived notions of the Try Guys - which are most likely entirely/mostly fair - discard them if they are dissuading you from watching this video.)
posted by obfuscation at 12:26 PM on June 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

(...I mean you don't have to discard them ENTIRELY... but this video is something entirely different! I shall now shut up.)
posted by obfuscation at 12:28 PM on June 15, 2019

What a well done video, it's gone all dusty in here.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 12:30 PM on June 15, 2019

I just want to say, as a fan of the Kids in the Hall film Brain Candy, that its "coming out" musical number is super lame, especially considering something like this. Just no musical sensibilities or creativity involved at all. It's cool that in the context of the movie the scene is a purely positive thing - his family has been waiting for Scott Thompson's character to be the last one to come to terms with this fact and are all supportive - and even the "Who Cares?" at the end pointed to a weird sort of realistic idealism where this sort of announcement would be met with a shrug - definitely less of a thing in the nineties than it is today.

What Yang does here is gorgeous, framing all the different emotions, realities, reactions and injustices, and through a mostly Asian perspective, while being visually stunning and musically beautiful.

Congratulations, Eugene. And this was awesome.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:47 PM on June 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Complicated and beautiful.
posted by schroedinger at 12:49 PM on June 15, 2019

Also, is it weird to mention how much This is America has already become an artistic touchstone that this can evoke it without really biting it for a similar but distinct purpose?
posted by Navelgazer at 12:51 PM on June 15, 2019 [20 favorites]

He's also been posting the related Pride photo shoot on his Twitter. Here's the photos collected into one tweet, but it's worth going to his thread for the higher res individual photos.
posted by rewil at 1:00 PM on June 15, 2019

Also, the moment when he's left the woman he's dancing with for the man who will be his new dance partner, and she hugs him before letting him on his way, was a lovely touch of grace.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:03 PM on June 15, 2019 [34 favorites]

Very well made. This guy should direct more things.
posted by zardoz at 1:04 PM on June 15, 2019

I'm so happy for him and this stunning work. In one of their videos they talked about what they did before Try Guys. And Eugine of course was in art school and was working on directing, and they showed some clips. So many people really wanted to see more of that work, and I'm so glad he's been able to share it on a large platform, as well as the message and personal story.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:10 PM on June 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

Kim Chi!
posted by Balthamos at 1:20 PM on June 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

When I saw the headline here, I confess that my initial reaction was "....I....thought he was out already?"

But then I watched the video. That video wasn't just a coming out. That was a testimony.

posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:33 PM on June 15, 2019 [25 favorites]

Yeah, he’s definitely talked about being queer before, but I guess this is the first time putting more specificity on it.
posted by obfuscation at 2:06 PM on June 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Reminds me of “Mac’s Dance” on Always Sunny. Surprisingly touching.
posted by darkstar at 2:30 PM on June 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Interesting to slot this choice in with the ongoing Carlos Maza affair.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:36 PM on June 15, 2019

what What WHAT? Eugene is GAY?

Heh. Love Eugene. This video is very well done (of course it is).

Thank you for posting, Sokka shot first.
posted by miss patrish at 2:44 PM on June 15, 2019

Such a beautiful work. It both cajoled and tore tears from me. I feel such kinship here. Not the same, but similar experience, in some ways. The breathtaking and sudden transition from joy to a beating. The strength of survival. The shot with the arguments between white- and black-dressed people, with his serious-quizzical look in makeup and elegant earrings. I couldn't not weep. Such truth. What a wonderful gift.
posted by kalessin at 3:37 PM on June 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

If, like me, you've just come from a two hour session playing Forza Horizon 4, this is really weird.

(The title music in the game is the same track)
posted by pipeski at 4:30 PM on June 15, 2019

This was really good, and made me think perhaps I had misjudged them from their youtube thumbnails, so I watched a few and nope, my preconceived notions about them were 100% accurate.
If he can do something this artful and good, it annoys me that his main project is to churn out internet meme culture grist, and even more to learn that it's explicitly why he stopped directing. What a loss.
posted by neonrev at 4:44 PM on June 15, 2019

The counterpoint, perhaps, is that once you have been paid by your member culture grist, you can use that income to do a fancy YouTube project that goes viral and gets you additional directing gigs.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:48 PM on June 15, 2019 [24 favorites]

Man, this video. Gorgeous and affecting.

This was really good, and made me think perhaps I had misjudged them from their youtube thumbnails, so I watched a few and nope, my preconceived notions about them were 100% accurate.

I think you can judge the Try Guys for having meme-y clickbait-y videos, but also appreciate when they diverge from those as well.

Eugene taking his dad to a drag show (feat. Kim Chi, a RuPaul's Drag Race alum) is a sweet video that springs to mind.
posted by rather be jorting at 5:02 PM on June 15, 2019 [6 favorites]

Stunning. The parts with his family resonated the most with me, personally. It also reminded me of Mac's powerful coming out scene on Always Sunny.
posted by Emily's Fist at 5:04 PM on June 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Only knowing Eugene from the Try Guy videos, I am totally blown away. This is a stunning accomplishment, beautifully executed.
posted by Rora at 5:56 PM on June 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

The part where people are fighting over/about him but in the process ignore him or leave him bleeding hit me hard. Solidarity, yes, but don't forget who you're there for.
posted by divabat at 8:23 PM on June 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

(and like I love the Try Guys but OH MY GOD the way he gets treated in their group videos sometimes makes me think he's better off without a bunch of Mediocre White Men)
posted by divabat at 8:24 PM on June 15, 2019 [7 favorites]

That was extremely powerful. I'm at a loss for words.
posted by ashbury at 8:55 PM on June 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

The counterpoint, perhaps, is that once you have been paid by your member culture grist, you can use that income to do a fancy YouTube project that goes viral and gets you additional directing gigs.

Fair enough, that is what happened. You're totally correct. I am still not happy on a societal level that such skill had to be wasted to allow it to be seen. I'm unhappy that the memester, youtube and twitter algorithm motivated video making career path is such an important aspect of online video making. I'm not mad at him, or even at people who like that stuff, I'm sad that this kind of thing wasn't societally supported.

Those 5 minutes were worth 100x the 20 or so minutes of Try Guys videos I watched with him in them, no question, hands down. The maybe 3 minutes of inset and full video from Crystalinne link about his previous work on a short about the Korea/Japanese WW2-era comfort women horrors (which, I haven't seen the film, so I dunno as a completed piece.) are more worthwhile to watch than a quarter hour of modern youtube internalized native marketing about eating a certain kind of food or whatever.

I 100% agree, but still feel justifiably unhappy that this is how I find out that guy isn't a pointless youtuber but actually pretty dang skilled and artistically articulate.
posted by neonrev at 9:05 PM on June 15, 2019

Man, I'd never seen Mac's coming out dance before, but that's also exquisite and powerful, and informed by season after season of painful repression we see from the character. Goddamn.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:10 PM on June 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Stunning and absolutely touching.
posted by gryphonlover at 10:14 PM on June 15, 2019

I don't expect everybody to like them, but the Try Guys are about as wholesome as you can get in the space they're in. The idea that they're wasted--I don't know. I took a pottery class, ultimately, because of a Try Guys video. Mostly they're just something I put on for background noise, but that series has now made my life better in an actual concrete way. I'd thought it seemed interesting before, but always at the level of "I wish I was good at this" and not "I wish I could go out and be terrible at this for a few hours". Being terrible at it for a few Saturday mornings was, in fact, one of the best experiences I've had in years.

Making it seem fun and acceptable to explore stuff and be awkward in front of other humans is, itself, important, even if the output is nowhere near so beautifully executed as this. This video really fucked me up when I caught it, I think within minutes of when it went up, because I'd been watching for it since I woke up. I was messy crying. But I'd never want to tell anybody, actually, you should only be making things if they'll be like this. If this is what he wants to do more of, amazing! If he wants to do other things, also amazing. Not everybody's creative output has to be serious and beautiful every moment in order to have a positive impact on people's lives.
posted by Sequence at 2:18 AM on June 16, 2019 [22 favorites]

Speaking as someone with super high standards, in some ways transgressive and ridiculous boundaries (vis a vis white people, who tend to make up a large part of my social circles) who has difficulty finding and keeping friends, you tubers like the Try Guys, who put what seems like their genuine selves out there, even with the algorithms and attention gathering factors, are really valuable to me.

I have a generally positive regard for these ridiculously nerdy Try Guys because nerdiness is one of my cultures, and because they don't seem fake. And Eugene has also appealed to my quirky sartorialist beautiful Asian drag queen aspect (speaking of, I haven't done drag in years). And he didn't need to come out as far as I was concerned-another overlap.

But I'm glad he did in a way that was so beautiful and struck so many genuine, harmonizing chords with my own identity and experience.

I tend to weep in the face of truth (the inexorable, beautiful kind of truth that happens in good storytelling, in fiction even - the emotional kind of harmonizing truth). I wept buckets and kept right on watching this video because it was full of it. And the courage and the tragic, steadfast truth of it was fascinating, profound, and beautiful in a way I haven't seen before from Eugene but I am happy to say I'm not surprised at all.

In the end it makes me feel like my aspirations and my circle of friends and my boundaries and my expectations of and for them are not that ridiculous. I can compare my inner circle positively to Eugene's work here. They are also good people and I know them and love them. But it's good to see and know other good people out there sometimes through their work like this. And be absolutely unshakably convinced that the ocean of good people is deep and broad because of work like this. Art like this. Truth like this.
posted by kalessin at 5:37 AM on June 16, 2019 [14 favorites]

I thought it was a really interesting design choice to have the homophobes be dressed in white and the people on his side be in black - usually it's the reverse.
posted by divabat at 7:35 AM on June 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

The attention to detail / layered meaning in just the costuming is amazing. I re-watched to confirm that his costume changes are in rainbow order (they are) and started catching all kinds of other details too. It's beautiful and deeply emotional work.
posted by ourobouros at 9:38 AM on June 16, 2019 [11 favorites]

"I'm not just queer - I'm a gay man." An interview with Eugene.
posted by Crystalinne at 9:27 PM on June 16, 2019

God, this was fantastic, thank you so much for sharing. I watched a bunch of Try Guys videos awhile back for the first time and really loved them, so much more than I normally would like four men talking about anything.

I really appreciate their willingness to share insecurities around their bodies and to explore the expectations around what makes an acceptable “male” or “female” body. Eugene is so beautiful and poised and they’re all shades of fairly conventionally attractive but I’ve been surprised by how much nuance and vulnerability they bring even to light-hearted videos.

This was on a whole other level. I’m so glad I saw this today. We didn’t go out for Pride, both my lady and I are dealing with health stuff and I’m feeling very agoraphobic (and paranoid about mass shootings) but this was a lovely thing to see at the end of Pride weekend.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 9:30 PM on June 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm just so glad to see more Queer Asian folk these days.

The Try Guys would have been up my alley as a teenager, and seeing people like Eugene and George and Rina and Haley and Chella would have been so, so, desperately needed and wonderful, maybe to where I wouldn't have had the few meltdowns I did trying to come to terms with who I am.

Eugene being Korean-American is nice too, just to emphasize the point you can be both.

I cried watching this. It seems I cry a lot these days, with joy, just seeing faces like mine on screen speaking in words that come more easily than our mother's tongues.
posted by anem0ne at 5:11 AM on June 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

There is now a followup video: Why I'm Coming Out As Gay.
posted by kalessin at 10:25 AM on June 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

If anyone else checks in, it's so worth watching the behind the scenes video. He doesn't owe anyone any explanation, even though he's in the public eye. He could have just dropped the mic. But the detail he goes into is so important. He's talked previously about his upbringing of being Asian and feeling "not good enough" and why he pushed himself to always be the best at everything. The way he talks here ads even more to that story. It's raw. It's real. It's important to hear, acknowledge, and share.
posted by Crystalinne at 3:53 PM on June 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Yeah the behind the scenes video made me weep too. It's good stuff, and it's very important to hear, acknowledge, and share, thanks Crystalinne.
posted by kalessin at 4:21 PM on June 17, 2019

That behind the scenes video was so so relatable both as a queer Asian in general and as someone who's made really honest, vulnerable, personal art but also has to balance that with the work of producing and logistics. What he said about having to make sure you don't end up being too vulnerable by all the outside work that you can't be vulnerable on stage/screen when it really counts hit me hard - I faced this exact challenge with the second run of my last show, where I ended up doing more of the producing and logistics than I expected and ended up being super burnt out. That video should be required watching for arts producers everywhere.

(Actually, if you know of any other work that talks about the process like this, let me know)
posted by divabat at 6:06 PM on June 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

I wanted to wait until I was home to watch the behind the scenes video to fully give my attention to it, and I'd recommend it as a must-see LGBT documentary short film, honestly. There's so much resonant insight and introspection from Eugene and his friends discussing Eugene's project here: coming out, specifically, as a gay Korean American man - as well as creating an artistic statement about coming out that doesn't shy away from addressing the very real fears and concerns related to coming out. The stress of being aware that because he's so visible, he doesn't want to let people down, having to be hyper-aware of doing anything that could deepen people's prejudices of any of the marginalized identities he represents, wanting to boost the communities that need boosting... man. This is such a hugely impressive, intimate undertaking.

Also it's nice to see the other Try Guys be supportive of Eugene for this project, and also to hear from them, as white men and as Eugene's personal friends as well as colleagues, reflect on Eugene's career and how much he's already done in addition to how much he continues working to accomplish.
posted by rather be jorting at 9:10 PM on June 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

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