By Frank V., for The Wild East
Offering my Hungarian-Jew-style comedy to Taipei Comedy Club guests for the third time some weeks ago, I felt the support of the local audience again, which is the best drug for a comedian. I always wonder why comedy has no tradition in Taiwan, like in Hungary, or in any other Western worlds. After my performance, the next morning at a breakfast shop I got a kind of answer for this torturing question.
It’s eight o’clock in the morning, and with my Taiwanese wife we are sitting at a breakfast shop. Not at the most elegant one, but “Frank, don’t be picky JUST NOW! ” she says. Okay, let’s have the garlic-chemical toast, the strawberry-chemical toast and the “limon-hong-cha,” or “chemical-indiao,” just like every other morning in Kaohsiung.
Two women are active behind the counter, very busy. We are ordering, sitting down, and waiting.
A fifty-like spider is sitting at the neigbouring table – he’s in a white shirt, black trousers, black shoes. Surely he is not a promote-face at Calvin Klein, but then again he’s no worse than a local accountant, or someone else who’s fishing in his own troubled waters.
He is sitting, reading the papers, holding a plastic cup with a straw peeking out of it. It’s almost presumable that this “yeye” wouldn’t omit the best-known showtunes in public foodplaces like this. Yet the straw vs. plastic cup slurp-phenomena begins, which once or twice stays under the human tolerance threshold; but in its maximised version it could surpass even the Dalai Lama’s patience…
Hearing his endless slurping, I write them off with some grimaces. During this slurpy-show, I am absolutely clear at exactly which stage of evolution this dude has stopped at. All is clear.
But when the last drop has been consumed, he brings Rousseau to my mind, in particular his famous work Emile, in which the philosopher unambiguously refers to harmony with nature.
This cock really doesn’t feel ashamed to show his inner world, how it reacts to gas, and its digestion and consuming, at all, not one bit. And no, he doesn’t cover his mouth. He let the burpy go all-out on its merry way, completely oblivious of other people’s presence.
“Fucking disgusting shithead” – I address him, and in order to make it sure he understands where in the animal kingdom I think he belongs, I also say it in Chinese: “Oeshin-de dongwu”. Disgusting animal — in Hungarian, we also use this term.
Now he is looking at me. I see it on his rotten face that he doesn’t get what my trouble is with him, so – providing a free performance – I copy his show so far:
I haven’t the faintest idea what he barks at me in Taiwanese, but I’m sure it’s not an invitation for a tea. Something like “fuckmymother and whatdoIthink and I’mtheanimal” – this can be the mainstream of his deep thoughts that don’t stop, even after the “oeshin-de dongwu” has left the building, just like Elvis left the stage.
From the street, he keeps on telling me everything that counts as nasty in Taiwanese vocabulary.
I see an uneasy smile on the service personnel’s face saying, “Excuse us, sorry,” in Chinese, but that isn’t much use now, as my appetite has exited along with the “polite Taiwan man”.
In Taiwan, I find it acceptable that some male specimens don’t stand in the way of certain sound-phenomena, which they allow to break out of their miscellaneous body-parts. They take it in stride, as a natural way of life.
But as I see it, these males are mostly above 35 yet still in high school. And they seem to be a dominant social power here. That great bold leader with moustache did nothing else but try to kill those who could communicate with longer sentences, and who had some more in mind besides everyday life.
So… why wonder about the narrow market for comedy in the R.O.C.?
Frank (VFJ), is a Hungarian comedian. You can see him perform at the Taipei Comedy Club on English night, once a month.