Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina to South Korean refugees, Jonathan Park (better known as DUMBFOUNDEAD) was smuggled in along with his sister by his mother to Mexico, and then later settled in Koreatown in Los Angeles at the age of three. At age 16, he discovered Project Blowed, an open-mic workshop located in Leimert Park in South Central L.A. Equipped with a blunted grin and an arsenal of quick witted rhymes, Dumbfoundead has topped the hip-hop charts with his single “Are We There Yet?”
Being a multi-hyphenate, Dumbfoundead recently released a six-episode webseries entitled RUN DMZ. I asked questions about this new series, his love for K-Town and how to best make his mother proud.
*NOTE: Dumbfoundead to be a panelist at 2013 Conference for Creative Content (C3) on October 26, 2013 at SAG-AFTRA.
1. RUN DMZ is your new online web series where you play a version of yourself running a Korean BBQ joint called Mama Park’s BBQ in fictitious South Koreatown.
Things have been good until a competing Korean BBQ restaurant opens up , located across the street in North Koreatown. It’s called Ken Jong’s Grill and is run by Jordy:
Great concept! Can you tell us a little bit of how this idea came about and how you decided to make this series?
DFD: Well I was raised in Koreatown, Los Angeles my entire life so since this was gonna be the first script I’ve ever written I wanted to start with something I was familiar with. If you ask anybody what they know about the Korean culture I think the first two things that would pop in their head is Korean BBQ and North Korea. I wanted to fuse those two things together and make a light-hearted comedy out of it.
2. Growing up and living in K-Town – what are the must-go places for visitors and why?
DFD: The nightlife in K-town is awesome. Karaokes and bars that are open till 6 am and the best Korean food you can find anywhere in the world (except Korea). For drinking I suggest going to 6th and Alexandria, there are bars up and down any direction from that intersection that are always packed.
3. Jose and Breezy, who also play a version of themselves in RUN DMZ, are real-life friends and collaborators. When you guys go out are people confused by the meta-ness? Any stories of you guys screwing around with people?
DFD: Hahhaha yea we all hang out together on a regular basis. I think that’s why it was easy for us to improv off each others lines when we were filming. None of them really have any acting experience but was able to just make up jokes on the spot because that’s what we would’ve don’t in real life. Going around K-town together is a trip now cause I just feel like we’re continuing the series.
4. Your mother plays a huge part in who you turned out to be with her amazing support. Besides you of course, who would she say is her favorite actor? Her favorite musician? And would she be more proud of you by winning a Grammy or an Oscar?
DFD: My mom has always been a big support. My mom would be proud of me winning a Grammy or an Oscar but I think she would flip if I made the cover of the Korean newspaper hahaha. She definitely would say I’m her favorite musician and actor, that’s how proud she is of me! I love her!
5. You’ve had great success in music and film/video (Jonathan was in commercials as a child and recently appeared in Joseph Kahn’s DETENTION). But what fans may not know is that you are also working on your stand-up comedy. In the near future, there will probably be a Hunger Games with comedians battling it out.
Who do you think you could take out? Who would you be worried about coming into the Arena?
DFD: I think I would do great in a hunger games with comedians. I already went through that, it was called battle rap hahaha.
CHECK OUT EPISODE 1 of RUN DMZ: