Eight comedians performed live at B10, Loft, OCT, in Nanshan on August 10th for the Takeout Comedy English Comedy Festival. The event was heavily promoted as a brekout of sorts for standup comedy in Shenzhen. Around 100 people showed up, which is a pretty good turnout for something relatively new in the city. I was fortunate to be there, so thought I’d share some thoughts on the night.
Below are the names of the comedians who performed in bold, their introduction provided by Takeout Comedy in italics, and my comments afterward. Let’s get started.
Nick Milnes, a British comedian living in HK, who performs regularly in TOC HK. He hosted the event and introduced all the other comedians. He started off the night with some standup of his own and had a few bright moments, but I didn’t feel he was a good fit for the audience, which was mostly American and Chinese. He tried his best and got a few laughs throughout the night, but for the most part he couldn’t hit the audience’s funny bone.
Andrew Chu, came second in the 2007 Chinese comedy festival, and came first in the 2010 English Funniest Comedian Competition. That however just makes me question who he was competing against. He definitely has a funny – but mostly creepy – look and some of his act seemed ok for an occasional chuckle. He also had a few callbacks to previous jokes which are important in comedy, but no really memorable moments.
Jim Brewsky, was a finalist in the 6th Annual Hong Kong International Comedy Competition and has opened for comics Paul Ogata (Comedy Central), Al Ducharme, Wali Collins (Comedy Central), Barry Hilton, Brad Upton (Comedy Central) and Butch Bradley (HBO). Jim was one of the shining stars of the night. He definitely knew how to work the room and had people cracking up throughout his whole set. His jokes and facial expressions were hilarious. I look forward to seeing him again.
Earl Young, has opened for Wali Collins (USA), Paul Ogata (USA/JPN), Ruben Paul (USA) and Al Ducharme (USA). He has performed in Shenzen and Guangzhou, China and the Philippines. He also was the headlining act at Comedy Masala #63 in Singapore in December of 2011. Earl also put on a strong comedic performance. He seemed more experienced than many of the other acts besides Jim Brewsky, who was maybe the best of the night.
Jayjay Ma, is a new but shining STAR in Shenzhen, he has been performing on Chinese stage for 2 years, and with an English major background, his recent English comedy show was awesome. I’m sorry, but if you are going to bill this as an English standup show, they need to speak much better English. He had – maybe – two laughs throughout his whole set. Maybe he’s a funny guy, but not many understood him. One of the worst of the night.
Victor Maltsev, is a Russian citizen. His style is oriented to George Carlin, Louis CK, Bill Hicks, humor with a bit of education, asking and answering question to himself and audience, true examples and situations from real life. Oy…Comparing yourself to George Carlin? Louis CK? Those guys are legends. Those guys are funny. Those guys are understandable. During the set and after I had people asking me, did you understand what he is saying/said? He came off as angry at the world without being funny. Even less funny than Jay Jay…
Kevin Zou, is the founder of Takeout Comedy Shenzhen branch. He is a bilingual regular performer and recently he is on TV Talent show in China. Kevin comes off as genuine nice guy that’s been practicing for a while. He has a good grasp of the English language and did a fairly good job with some good laughs throughout his set.
Vivek Mahbubani, crowned 2007 Chinese and 2008 English Funniest Comedian in Hong Kong and was the host of the TV series “Hong Kong Stories” by RTHK. He had high praise from my friends in Hong Kong before I had heard him and he really delivered. He played with the crowd and was funny enough to just riff and make fun of the audience. I dare someone to try and heckle the guy. He seems really smart, very likeable, knows how to work the audience, and best of all, he’s funny.
I would definitely come to another Takeout Comedy show, but I hope they would either replace some of the less funny acts, especially the ones who can’t speak English well, or focus on just the funnier comedians. I guess comedy is a matter of personal taste, but it was clear the audience, as a whole, preferred some comedians over the others.
The Takeout Comedy Club schedules most of their events in Hong Kong, but they do visit Shenzhen from time to time. I’d recommending coming out next time and experiencing this for yourself. Good or bad, entertainment options in Shenzhen are sorely needed and nothing is perfect in the beginning.
You can get more info from the Takeout Comedy Club on its website: http://www.takeoutcomedy.com.