CORE PERFORMING MEMBERS

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Jully Lee
Artistic Director and Core Performing Member

Jully Lee began training with Cold Tofu in 2004 and was named Artistic Director in 2014. After performing in Cold Tofu's sketch comedy collaboration Telemongol, her first theatrical production in 2006, Jully was offered a co-star role on Comedy Central's Reno911! Since then, Jully has performed in hundreds of improv shows and has received critical acclaim for her performances in more than 25 productions onstage. She also tours throughout Los Angeles County performing children's theater with WE TELL STORIES.

TV: Jane the Virgin (CW), Rosewood (FOX), Girlboss (Netflix), The Kicks (Amazon), Gang Related (Fox), Gilmore Girls (Netflix), Prank My Mom (Lifetime). Film: Return to Zero, Breach of Trust, Girlfriends. Theatre: Joy Luck Club (2013 nat'l tour), tokyo fish story (SCR), 36 Views (PCPA), Sun Sisters (CoA), Chinese Massacre (Annotated) (Circle X) 

Twitter: @jullylee | www.jullylee.com

Corinne Chooey
Core Performing Member

Corinne grew up in San Francisco where she was encouraged to develop her creativity through writing and performing. At the age of eleven, she started acting professionally in musical theatre and commercials. She later moved to Los Angeles to study acting and began honing her craft in local theatre productions.

One of Corinne's earliest on-camera jobs was as a series regular in SABAN Entertainment's kids show, VR Troopers. She has since gone on to appear in Michael Mann's CollateralThe Young and the Restless (CBS), Switched At Birth (ABC), Reno 911! (Comedy Central), andThe Body and Soul of a Chinese Woman, written by C.Y. Lee. A past participant in FOX's Diversity Writers Program, Corinne is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA.

Twitter: @corinnechooey

Robert Covarrubias
Artistic Director Emeritus and Core Performing Member


Robert Covarrubias is a native of Boyle Heights. He made his film debut in the cult low-rider classic Boulevard Nights (1979), which has aired on Turner Classic Movies. He performed with The Improvisational Theatre Project, a touring company out of the Mark Taper Forum 1978 -80.

He joined Cold Tofu Comedy in 1984, Los Angeles Theatresports in 1990. He first appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 1993.  In the end he made over 250 Tonight Show appearances as various characters, The Shoe Bomber being his favorite. He’s worked with Steven Spielberg on The Terminal and Alexander Payne on Sideways. He has directed and appeared in improv shows at the Acme Comedy Theatre and is still a member of Cold Tofu Comedy.

Denise Iketani
Core Performing Member

While pursuing a degree in International Political Science with a regional emphasis in Latin America Studies at UCLA, Denise Iketani saw a flyer for a performance by a comedy group known as Cold Tofu. Hoping to find respite from studying she experienced her first Cold Tofu Improv show featuring a group of funny, Asian American women and men. Denise never imagined that she would eventually be given the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of those amazing comedians.

Her first improv class was taught by Cold Tofu’er Amy Hill. That class led to her being cast in CT’s One Act Comedy Festival at LATC. Soon after she was asked to join the company as one of its first Associate members. She’s been a part of Cold Tofu ever since. Throughout the years you may have caught her singing and dancing onstage at East West Players in Follies, Pacific Overtures (LA Ovation nomination), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Cabaret and more. TV and Film credits include General Hospital, Frasier, The Division, Chicago Hope, and After One Cigarette. Fortunately, her UCLA education did not go to waste. It gave her the ability to improvise in fluent Spanish.

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Kevin Ocampo
Core Performing Member

Although Kevin has informally studied comedy since 1978, when he first saw Saturday Night Live at the age of four, beginning classes with Cold Tofu in 2003 was his first foray into performing comedy. By 2005, Kevin had joined the performing cast of Cold Tofu. Kevin has also studied at the IOWest, Second City Conservatory in Hollwood, and The Groundlings. He has performed across the country from Seattle to New York City; from Los Angeles to Austin at colleges, comedy festivals, and special engagements. He can be found performing regularly in Los Angeles with Cold Tofu, Browntown, and Margot’s Pie.

Kevin’s favorite pastime is finding new pastimes to geek out about. He is currently into designer boardgames and fountain pens, but next month it could be linguistics and carpentry. It all depends on whether his wonderful wife Tina lets him get that table saw.

Twitter: @ke7en11

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Helen H. Ota
Artistic Director Emeritus and Core Performing Member

Helen H. Ota has been a performing member of Cold Tofu since 1993 and retired as its Artistic Director in 2013. She co-founded Yes, And … Productions and produced the musicals Ordinary Days and Songs for a New World. She is also a performing member of the Grateful Crane Ensemble.

Some of Helen’s stage credits include Ordinary Days, Songs for a New World, A Tribute to Misora Hibari, Ching Chong Chinaman, The Brahmin and the Tiger, and Manzanar. She also emcees community events, festivals, and parades.

Helen’s passion for the arts extends to her day job where she is the Director of Development & Marketing at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center. She also serves on the Artistic Advisory Board for the Asian Pacific American Friends of Theatre. When she’s not working, performing or serving the community, Helen is often singing her heart out at a local karaoke lounge.

Twitter: @OtaHelen
mike

Michael C. Palma
Core Performing Member

Since starting with Cold Tofu in the summer of 2001, Mike has had a thrilling time laughing and making people laugh with his cohorts. After having started out as a musical theater artist, Mike has since found a nice home in the world of "make it up as you go along" and has had so much fun ever since.

Despite being a classically trained vocalist, dancer, and actor, when not on stage making things up, Mike uses his acting experience with his "day job" as a professional wedding and portrait photographer, specializing in modern, fun, and energetic photography, with a photojournalistic eye and sensibility. You can view his work at www.mpalmaphotoblog.com, or just come out to a Cold Tofu show. He'll have his camera ready.

Twitter: @mpalmaphotowww.mpalmaphotography.com

 

 MIkeV Michael Villanueva
Core Performing Member

A few years after college Michael Villanueva saw his first Cold Tofu performance in 2002. At the urging of friends, he started taking classes with Cold Tofu in 2007 and has been a part of the group ever since. His stage credits include Petruchio from The Taming of the Shrew, Dale from David Henry Hwang’s F.O.B., and The Chinese Man from Little Shop of Horrors. Then high school ended.

Now an engineer working in aerospace, he contributes to the group’s knowledge base by bringing in both artistic and scientific sensibilities in order to show traditionally non-artistic people the benefits that improv can bring both personally and professionally. If any proof is needed, his PowerPoint presentations are said to be surprisingly clear, concise, and informative while still being easy to digest.

 

ASSOCIATE PERFORMING MEMBERS

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Aaron Aoki
Associate Performing Member

WillC

Will Choi
Associate Performing Member

JhemonL

Jhemon Lee
Associate Performing Member

ShannonW

Shannon Wong
Associate Performing Member

       

 
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