What You Don’t Know About The Try Guys’ Eugene Lee Yang
Eugene Lee Yang makes up one-quarter of The Try Guys, some of the most recognized faces on YouTube. Metro described them as “the optimists of YouTube” who provide “a bit of escapism, silliness, and fun.” Yang has made a career of putting himself out there, first at Buzzfeed and then with three of his best friends.
Paper reports that Yang is the son of Korean immigrants and grew up in a small Texas town. He attended a conservative Korean Presbyterian Church. “I had this sense of otherness, where I was constantly looking from the outside in at myself,” he said. “I never had full-fledged ownership of my identity until I graduated college because I was so informed by all these external factors that were so oppressive.”
His Buzzfeed profile outlines that he joined the media organization in 2013, a time when it was best known for fun quizzes and light-hearted videos. However, in 2018, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that it was the end of an era when The Try Guys left Buzzfeed to form their own production company, 2nd Try LLC. After the move, Lang told Metro, “our big goal is to make people laugh just because that seems like if all else fails, trying to brighten someone’s day in what is certainly a very dark time is sort of mandatory for us as creatives.”
He feels like one of the internet’s big brothers, but here’s what you might not know about Eugene Lee Yang.
Eugene Lee Yang got hurt channeling Mary Poppins
Wanting to be a YouTuber is a fairly new career path. When The Try Guys first started out, it wasn’t an option. On You Can Sit With Us (via YouTube), a branch of the TryPods hosted by Maggie, Becky, and Ariel — aka The Try Wives — Eugene Lee Yang revealed that he had a mishap growing up, and it was all rooted in his love for Mary Poppins.
Speaking on the podcast, he said he was constantly jumping off things that would lead to injuries. He laughed, “I thought I was Mary Poppins. So I took an umbrella and jumped off a three-story house. Because two stories is so small.” He went on to explain that the motive behind his jump was to fly and teach British kids manners, just like Mary Poppins. “I jumped off the top of one of my neighbor’s houses … and landed on the driveway,” he said. “The umbrella inverted and I’m pretty sure it sped up my fall at some point. I fell like a rock, rolled both my ankles so they were fractured … and hobbled around for a good few months.”
The film Mulan resonates with Eugene Lee Yang
In 2019, Eugene Lee Yang came out in a super creative and inspiring music video, which has racked up 19 million views on The Try Guys’ YouTube page. To date, he’s donated $148,488 in proceeds to The Trevor Project, a crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization supporting the LGBTQ+ community. The video had a monumental impact, but he told Metro that he made it for his family. “It was essentially strangely coming out to some very core key members of my family and they had no idea,” he said. “They were a little blindsided, but it did feel like it was time to sort of exercise a connection between … my career goals and my personal expression [and] the fact that it is all going to be forever intrinsically tied with my identity.”
While he said that he’d hinted at his sexuality in the past, he’d never explicitly expressed his identity to his family. Speaking to fellow YouTuber Hannah Hart, Yang said Mulan had also really resonated with him as a child, but it wasn’t until he came out that he realized why.
“Mulan is a really clear story where, particularly, her gender expression was so woven into this narrative,” Yang said. “It was this unquestionable part of her that she expressed in ways that everyone accepted. That moved in me ways I didn’t even understand as a kid.”
He's starred in some seriously popular TV shows
When The Try Guys first left Buzzfeed, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that a spokesperson for the group said that they were ready to take the “next step in our careers.” This has meant creating their own movie and merch. However, Eugene Lee Yang has branched out and explored other opportunities in the entertainment industry.
In January 2019, Yang posted a picture of himself on Twitter sitting in a director’s chair on the set of Brooklyn Nine-Nine during season 6. He wrote, “Thrilled to announce my first-ever guest spot will be on one of the best shows on television. Tune in this week.”
According to Bustle, Yang plays the attendant at an up-market club. Jake (played by Andy Samberg) and Gina (played by Chelsea Peretti) attempt to get into the elite club for Gina’s leaving party. However, Yang stops them at the door and makes getting in very tough. After the episode aired, fans took to Twitter to beg Yang to make a reappearance in the show.
Eugene Lee Yang has experienced depression
While many of the subjects in The Try Guys’ videos are pretty light-hearted and funny, Eugene Lee Yang hasn’t shied away from talking about mental health and addiction. In an interview with Metro, he said, “I haven’t really spoken openly about my experiences with depression, especially, not ever having the chance to be in any way clinically diagnosed but I think that I certainly have a naturally depressive personality,” he said. “I think that jokingly I found ways to express it through my very famous affinity towards drinking.”
He explained that he’s found speaking openly about his mental health has helped him, but also, it makes his content relatable for other people going through a similar thing. While speaking to fellow OG Buzzfeed creator Kelsey Darragh on her podcast Confidently Insecure (via YouTube), he said, “I have a lot of videos where I will proudly say I handle liquor much better than the other guys but, for me to joke about it, I come from a family who has a history of alcoholism and I went through phases where I had really bad problems with alcohol. So, to joke about it now, for me, is very natural but I for an audience member who doesn’t see that history, I can see they might see it as glorifying it.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Eugene Lee Yang was othered at college, inspiring his content
In an interview with The Advocate, Eugene Lee Yang outlined that learning to live his personal truth and expressing his identity in all its facets has been a serious journey and one that hasn’t always been really simple. While speaking to Paper, he said that growing up and while he was at USC, he was othered for his race. “I was always told, again and again by others, that I was different,” Yang said. “But weirdly, what oppressed me in my childhood was what I could sell in my career.”
He told Out that by harnessing both his Asian American and gay identities, he’s been able to tailor his content to be more creative and much more personal. He said, “In a lot of ways sort of explores what it means to be living within the hyphen in America, being American and something else. Whether it be a minority, racially, sexually, there’s a lot of content there that I am exploring through very unique characters that I’m dying to get on the screen. Because it is very separate from the work I do with Try Guys. This really is the heart of what I’ve always aimed to do as a director.”
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