Feb 9, 2010

Stand-up comics in Beijing

Beijing occasionally has decent stand-up talent passing through. It's usually organized by a production company called ChopSchticks. The most recent show was at the Hard Rock Cafe in Beijing, a sizable, fashionable venue, but with very very pricey drinks and food. I think the price for a pint of Beijing Beer was $7. Ouch.

The main act was Steve Byrne. I love his Bruce Lee impersonation. Easy to find on YouTube:

Steve Byrne's set was just about an hour. It was pretty much a collection of the material that he's done already on Comedy Central and other shows, with some observational humor on China thrown in.

Sam Tripoli opened the show with a set that lasted around 35 minutes. I enjoyed his material. It was more on the blue side than Steve Byrne's. Some of his audience interaction and improvisation killed. For some of the America-related cultural and news references, the audience didn't react quite as boisterously as they would in the US. There was a sizeable portion of British people and other English-speaking non-Americans. I get the impression that they're pretty serious about themselves and their sense of humor. The ethnic jokes and cultural references seemed to go over the heads of the British people.

Both of the comics hung out near the exit after the show and shook the hand of anyone that wanted to, not only the hot chicks they wanted to meet up with later on. I though that was a nice classy touch, and something I've not encountered at comedy clubs in LA and New York.

ChopSchticks is about the same price as going to a comedy show back home. You figure, a comedy show at a club in a big city is going to cost you around $20-30 for the cover charge, then they have a two-drink minimum, so with another $10-15 per person, you're at about $30-45 per person total. The Beijing shows are $36-44 per person, no drink minimums. It's not dirt cheap, but it is well worth it.

I thought this most recent pair of comics was great. I hope they can continue the shows in Beijing.


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