Before I head to my very first stand-up comedy in China, mom face-timed me, I told her that I need to run to see the show. She said, aww that’s fun, but don’t laugh too hard and pee your pants!
Well, I did not pee my pants at the stand-up comedy, as a result. I did laugh.
The stand-up comedy is organized by Comedy UN, lead by a local Chinese named Storm Xu in Shanghai. The organization has many English speaking comedians from all over the world. They have Chinese stand-up comedy night and English stand-up comedy night every week.
Why did I choose English stand-up comedy to attend? It’s a long story, but here’s a quick summary:
It’s one of the first things I learned on TV when I moved to the US. Throughout my adulthood, I watch many SNL, Chris Rock, and Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, and George Carlin, plus Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers. Okay, not just men’s comedy, I never missed a podcast of “2 Dope Queens”.
In New York, I even had the luck to attend “The Colbert Report” and saw Stephen Colbert in person on UWS, thanks to our friend Jeremy! I also went to a black women’s stand-up comedy with ex-colleagues at a very dark bar in LES, girrrr, their sketch was some raw stuff!
In conclusion, English stand-up comedy seemed more natural to me, although I might not get all the references that only a natural born American would. As an audience, I’m used to the raw and dirty language, the screaming, and the ridiculous humor.
In comparison, the stand-up at Comedy UN was less raw, less dirty. There were five comedians came from the UK, South Africa, Australia, and the US and China. Their jokes had a lot to do with culture shocks in China, which were valid. Only a couple of them cursed, shouted. One Chinese comedian with perfect English brought up the topic of racism – Chinese are racist because the Chinese like to call people names with visual and hurtful words, which I agree. However, the comedian ended up joking those name calling words had some spiritual meanings related to death and seduction linked with ancient Chinese ghost culture. I was not amused.
The best comedian was Storm Xu, the leader/MC of Comedy UN. His jokes were not limited to the culture shock category. He had jokes on Australian cops, the US government shutdown, and his parents dealing with divorce at the moment. Let me give him a big shout-out!
The venue is also worth to mention. It’s located in a semi-abandoned villa compound in the center of the city. It has no street lights in the compound, it was very dark until you found your way into the theater. Now, I think of it, the theater might not exist for long…
Lastly, I want to apologize to a nice audience who sat next to me, went to the show alone just like me (so brave!). When the whole performance ended, she wanted to exchange a few thoughts with me by speaking to me first; due to social anxiety – the inability of socializing on my own in public, I responded her with a very quick agreement and vanished in the dark..