Cold Tofu Names New Leaders


Cold Tofu CoG JL MP

Cold Tofu Artistic Director Michael C. Palma, right, with his predecessor Jully Lee.

After a decade-long tenure, new leadership is appointed to lead the nation’s first Asian American improv and comedy troupe.

Los Angeles, CA — January 7, 2024 — Former COLD TOFU leaders Jully Lee (Artistic Director), Kiko Cheng (President) and Stefanie Lau (Marketing Manager)—having served in their respective roles for the last decade—formally stepped down from their positions in a “Changing of the Guards” event held at the new Suehiro DTLA.

Taking Lee’s place as Artistic Director is long-time COLD TOFU core performer Michael C. Palma. Palma—a professional portrait, and commercial photographer by day—joined COLD TOFU in 2001 and had since risen to the ranks of a main cast member, instructor, and most recently Associate Director. His various theater credits include Mamma Mia (East West Players), Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (South Coast Repertory) and On This Side of the World (East West Players), to name a few. Palma expressed his desire to preserve the strong and vibrant connection to the community that COLD TOFU has maintained in its rich 43-year history.

“It’s such an honor for me to be taking up the helm of such a historic organization, and to follow in the footsteps of Jully Lee, who has brought COLD TOFU to new heights and expanded our reach, especially during the pandemic. I will continue to build upon the work that she and our former leadership created, uplift our company members and the visibility of Asian American actors, while strengthening our outreach in and beyond our community.” — Michael C. Palma, Artistic Director

Leading the board of directors as President is former COLD TOFU core performer and instructor, Aaron Takahashi, an accomplished actor and veteran of over 100 national commercials, recurring characters on TV (Mr. Robot; Sydney to the Max; Kenan) as well as feature film roles (Yes Man; The Wedding Ringer). Takahashi is backed by the support of COLD TOFU’s seasoned members of the board: Kiko Cheng (Vice-President), Jully Lee (Secretary), Kathy Tokudomi (Treasurer), as well as Kimberly Hayashi, Bob Kawahara and Tom Oshiro.

The board of directors were joined by company members and community supporters for the “Changing of the Guards” to formally congratulate Palma and Takahashi on their new positions. Among those present was COLD TOFU founding member Denice Kumagai who paid witness to the legacy she started back in 1981. Outgoing leaders, Jully Lee, Kiko Cheng and Kimberly Hayashi (former Co-President, 2014-2018) were presented with gifts and a floral tribute. Stefanie Lau, who was unable to attend the event, was similarly acknowledged for her years of hard work and dedicated service.

Palma and Takahashi hope to raise the distinction of COLD TOFU’s historically innovative and groundbreaking reputation and strengthen its brand recognition to allow for more engagement with its audience and the community in which it serves. This new era and new vision will be accompanied by an updated logo and newly designed website, scheduled for release in Spring 2024.

About Cold Tofu

COLD TOFU is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is dedicated to promoting diverse images of Asian Pacific Americans through comedy and to developing multiethnic talent through education and performance. Founded in 1981 by Marilyn Tokuda and Denice Kumagai, COLD TOFU remains the first and longest running Asian American improv and comedy troupe. Based in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, California, COLD TOFU continues to cultivate the talent and opportunities for Asian American actors to perform and explore comedy. For more information about COLD TOFU, please visit or email


Michael C. Palma, Artistic Director

(323) 665-2366


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