Artist of the Month- September- Dannie Higginbotham

Prepare to laugh out loud when this bubbly lady is on stage! Dannie Higginbotham is one of the very few female professional comedians in town who not only can rock the stage anytime she has the chance to do so, but she actively contributed to the local scene by running a fun show. 
Varietea Party at Hong Kong Brew House is becoming a regular event and the perfect hangout for local performers. Dannie and her team monthly showcase performing artists in poetry, singing, stand-up comedy and more. Created by Anto Man-Ming Chang as a way to celebrate artists from various background expressing themselves, Varietea brings members of artistic communities together to network, get to know each other and enjoy themselves. 
Dannie now runs it on a regular basis, and she has agreed to meet us up and she was happy to share her background and views about arts and Hong Kong. Every lady who takes action in making Hong Kong a better artistic place deserves our attention!
1. Name, Birthplace, Age
Dannie Higginbotham, Minneapolis, MN, 27
2. How does where you were raised affect your work?
Minnesotans are known for being polite and I try to keep that polite, positive attitude while I'm running shows. This means I'm kind of a pushover when dealing with performers, but I've been working on standing up for myself.
3. Where did you train?
Comedy-wise, I didn't really train anywhere. It's just something I've always been interested in doing. I didn't get a chance to try it until I moved to Hong Kong. Even though there's plenty of stand up in Minnesota, it's mostly concentrated around the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/ St. Paul), so I wasn't able to do it in college because I went to school in a smaller town (Mankato, Minnesota). I've always watched and listened to a lot of stand up though.
4. What is your favorite style of comedy? Why?
I like stand up that takes a deeper look into the things we all think we know about and shows a weird side to it. Aziz Ansari, Patton Oswalt and Louis C.K. all do this; one of my favourite Louis C.K. jokes is about how an unsuccessful relationship ends in divorce, but successful relationship is one where two people stay together forever, but then they have to watch each other die. I'm a pessimist who pretends to be an optimist, so this kind of stuff speaks to me.
5. What was the best show you EVER saw?
Muse came to Hong Kong last year and it was amazing. They had awesome visuals and Matt Bellamy sounds exactly the same live. Muse has been one of my favourite bands since I was 16 (the other being Oasis, who I saw live in 2008) so it was exciting to finally see them in person.
6. What was the best show in HK you EVER saw? (You cannot say your own.)
Avenue Q came to town a couple of years ago and I was so excited to see it. I love cute things and innappropriate content, so swearing puppets are right up my alley.
7.What piece of work are you the most proud of? 
I'm always pretty excited whenever I can get people who aren't my friends to come to Varietea. We once had a show where like, 70 people showed up because they saw us on Sassy. That must've been my happiest moment since taking over the show.
8. What is your process like?
I don't really have much of a process. I tend to think of jokes or funny observations right as I'm falling asleep. If I remember it the next morning, I test it out as a Facebook status. If I get a good response from people then it goes into my act. At some point I should probably sit down and learn about the formal process of brainstorming and joke writing; it might help me come up with new material.
9. What is your dream project?
Oh man, I don't know. I've only ever thought of comedy as something I do for fun. I haven't thought ahead much to the future and what I could do with comedy or with my experience running Varietea. I went to school for journalism, so maybe I could combine the journalism and comedy experiences together to have some type of snarky, political commentary show? Who knows?
10. If you could change one thing about the art scene in HK, what would it be?
In regards to comedy, I think some people can take the scene too seriously. They lose focus and forget that comedy is about making the audience laugh. They want glory and treat the comedy scene like it's Game of Thrones, like it's something that can be won. But really, comedy is about fun and laughter and coming together. I wish people could be more relaxed.


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