Actress Traces Her Roots— and Finds Her Father

Kulap Vilaysack speaks onstage during the premiere of Seeso's "Bajillion Dollar Properties" Season 2 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Oct. 5, 2016 in Los Angeles.
Phillip Faraone—Getty Images Kulap Vilaysack speaks onstage during the premiere of Seeso's "Bajillion Dollar Properties" Season 2 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Oct. 5, 2016 in Los Angeles.

The comedian, 37, turned lingering questions about her background into a new documentary

Tracing Her Family Tree

The creator of the reality show spoof Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ grew up with Laotian immigrant parents; in her directorial debut, Origin Story, Vilaysack journeys to Laos to find her roots—and her biological father. “I found out my dad wasn’t my biological dad when I was 14, and I didn’t ask any questions. But when I wanted to start my own family, I realized that there were just so many holes in my past.”

 

Growing Up Stateside

“My parents risked everything to come here. I was conceived in a refugee camp in Thailand and born in Washington, D.C. We were moved to Minnesota by

a family that sponsored us through a church program. They brought us into their home and watched me as my parents went to school to learn English.”

 

A Gateway to Comedy

“I knew I wanted a creative career and moved to L.A. after high school for fashion merchandising. But I also started taking classes at Second City and liked it. When the UCB LA theater opened, I became involved with them. It’s my second home now. That community is so supportive.”

 

Carving Her Own Niche

The comedian’s spoof show premiered in 2016 on Seeso. “I had this idea for a show, and it turns out I’m a very good showrunner. I really enjoy directing; I love working with actors. I’m just really proud of the show.”

 

Support System

Vilaysack married actor and comedian Scott Aukerman in 2008. “It’s a relationship that’s constantly evolving. He’s part of my home, and I’m able to take a lot of big leaps because I know he’s there for me.”

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