Cold Tofu with Aki the Akita, Nisei Week’s mascot.

The Nisei Week Foundation announced this week that Cold Tofu has been selected 2013 parade marshal.

“We are so grateful to our parade marshal, Cold Tofu, who for more than 32 years has been supporting and developing local Asian American comedic talent and has enriched our Little Tokyo and local Los Angeles communities with their original sketch material and lively performances,” said Steve Inouye, Nisei Week president.

Founded in 1981, Cold Tofu is the nation’s premier Asian American comedy improv group. Under the leadership of its current artistic director, Helen H. Ota, and core cast members, Cold Tofu continues to grow and develop its distinctive brand of comedy. The members consistently strive to create unforgettable characters, improvised scenes and original sketch materials.

Having built a strong reputation in the improv community, Cold Tofu has been invited to perform on stage at ACME Comedy Theatre, Westside Comedy Theater, Los Angeles Theatre Center, and with groups such as Los Angeles Theatresports and Room to Improv. In addition to performing throughout Southern California, Cold Tofu has presented improv shows across the nation from Seattle to Houston to Washington, D.C. (Smithsonian Institution), and in Vancouver, Canada.

Through its outreach and educational programs, the acclaimed improv group has performed and taught workshops at campuses including USC, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Occidental College, Pomona College and the University of Washington. Cold Tofu also offers specialized professional development improv workshops focusing on communication, team-building, leadership, and public speaking skills and has worked with Deloitte & Touche, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP), National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), Ascend, Leadership Inspirations (a high school leadership conference at Chapman University) and the Nisei Week Queen candidates.

From its inception in 1981 by Marilyn Tokuda, Denice Kumagai, Judy Momii and Irma Escamilla to today, Cold Tofu has grown to 25 members who perform improv shows regularly in historic Little Tokyo and emcee events for several community organizations. Cold Tofu shares the thrill of performing improv and sketch, while training up-and-coming performers by providing improv workshops year-round. For more information, visit

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