Origin Story's Kulap VilaysackKulap Vilaysack is an actor, comedian, showrunner, and director. She just directed her first feature length film, Origin Story, about her family's journey to the U.S. and finding her biological father in Laos. It's a film about dealing with family secrets, empathizing with difficult parents, and connecting with brand new ones. We talked to Kulap about facing her family's darkest secrets and finding healing through the pain.
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If you're already familiar with the work of Kulap Vilaysack, odds are it's because she made you laugh. Maybe it was on her podcast, Who Charted?, which she co-hosted for 8 years on the Earwolf network. Maybe you know her from Bajillion Dollar Properties, a show she created which ran on the Seeso network. Or, maybe you saw her in a TV role. Kulap has appeared in dozens of shows, like Bob's Burgers, Comedy Bang Bang, and Children's Hospital, just to name a few. One of our favorites was probably her part in Parks and Recreation.
For as long as Kulap has been a working actor, comedian, and showrunner, she's been working on a different, but very special, project in the background. It's a documentary called Origin Story. Kulap is the director and the center of the film. It's about family secrets, learning to adapt to them, empathizing with difficult parents, and connecting with brand new ones.
Kulap was raised in Minnesota. Her parents were both refugees from Laos. One night, during a family argument, her mom told her something that would change her life completely: that the man who had raised her isn't her birth father.
In Origin Story, Kulap confronts her history head on. She reckons with her parents, her mom, in particular. She talks about identity and her experience as a second-generation immigrant. She finds her birth father, and goes to Laos to meet him. The film is moving. It's healing. We just can't recommend it enough.
Origin Story, is a really compelling, affecting film. You can stream it now on Amazon. If you haven't checked out her show Bajillion Dollar Properties... well, it's completely different from Origin Story in pretty much every way, but it's also great. It's streaming on a handful of platforms, including Amazon.