Battle of the wits at Taipei comedy club

By Trista di Genova
The China Post

Taiwan’s first and only, new comedy club is hosting an evening with some of the island’s hottest local and foreign talent, for what promises to be two rib-splitting shows on Saturday evening.

For diehard standup comedy fans, this is great news. But what took them so long?

“I don’t know about timing, but it’s time for us to do it,” said “Social” (Chang Shuo-hsiu), manager of Live Comedy Club Taipei, and an actor, director and producer for the Taiwan Walker Theatre until the comedy venue opened in late May.

“In Taiwan, we grow up in the culture of America, and learn a lot from movies, from TV, in America, Britain, okay. So we wanted a club where we could have all kind of comedy performance, every night, just like in America — standup comedy, dueling comedy. I think it’s great!” Social said on Wednesday.

Judging from the lineup, that seems an understatement.

Vince Kao, a Taiwanese and regular comic at the club, is just one rising star – he plays “just a little part” in Lee Ang’s new film coming out next month, “Lust, Caution.”

Christopher Run (Ren Yang-long), a former dancer born in Hong Kong and raised in America, is a self-described “confirmed sexual terrorist,” has a queer interest in “old gay jokes,” and warns his material “may be hazardous to the religiously unchallenged.”

Mark Goding is an Aussie known about town for his insane robotic getup, and more recently his brilliant “Cliche squad” sketch, in which he mines old Nam movies for material, playing roles for some half-dozen characters. In his free time, Goding’s an underground sausage dealer.

Comedian Chris Wang was one of the hottest performers at the CAPT comedy show in July, singing about the joys of being an ABC.

American ventriloquist Matt Bronsil always provides a unique twist by bringing his multiple personalities onstage with him – a hypercrazy monster (Noodle), his angry dog (Jazzy D.), even an occasional beaver in a straitjacket.

Adrian Maidment, who started out as an “open-micer” like the rest and whose comedic debut at FM bar in Taichung was the stuff of local legend, is coming all the way from central Taiwan so he can wallop audiences with his beefy, hard-hitting one-liners.

Dan Machanik, the show’s headline act, penned on his website he’s an “International Sales and Marketing Guru, Hollywood Writer/Comedian, Rock-N-Roll Producer-Promoter and Internet Visionary.”

But “Gonzo” is holding back about his real knack as a professional comic — he’s been the opening act for such greats as Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong fame and Garry Shandling at the prestigious Aspen Comedy Festival. More recently, he’s toured with fine material such as “The Secret Life of Susy Wong Asian Comedy Tour” and “How to tell if you’re girlfriend works at a KTV.”

Now, Asia’s favorite western comedian is coming back with a set of all-new material based on his recent gonzo misadventures in mainland China, and describes his new set as “China lite – 1.4 billion served – guaranteed happy ending.” No doubt he’s set to achieve his one true objective: “getting big laughs from wasted audiences in darkened clubs,” as he puts it.

Last but not least, Kurt Penney, the main driving force organizing quality standup comedy in Taipei in recent years, took time out of his busy schedule — posing as a smartly-dressed Mormon and trying to convert innocent Taiwanese bystanders to his “Nufie” (Newfoundland) brand of humour — to grant an interview.

“There’ll be something for everyone,” he promises from the safe haven of his bicycle, “but it’s definitely adult comedy. So if you’re 13, I’m sorry, this is for adults only. I know some Chinese look really young, but obviously if you’re a child I’m not gonna let you in,” he joked.

WHAT: Comedy Night in English (with a little Chinese here and there)

WHERE: B1, #24, Taishun St, near Shida area
WHEN: Saturday, August 18, Showtimes: 9:00pm & 11:30pm
TICKETS: NT$350 includes drink
As limited seating available and the show is expected to sell out, buying tickets in advance is highly recommended.
TEL: 02-2369-3730