Review-Ari Shaffir-Comedy.HK


By: Olivia Rosenman

What do you get when you put three male comedians on stage? Lots of penis jokes, it seems. Yes, penis jokes are funny, but I wouldn’t chose penis humour as a theme for an entire show. Whether Ari Shaffir mandated it, or it was just a coincidence, three acts heavy on penis content became tiring by the end of the night. Looking back now at a note on Shaffir’s website, I see he warns people not to come to the show if they “don’t like hearing Jews telling awful jokes about sexual misconduct”, so I suppose I was warned.

Nevertheless, each of the night’s performers had some nuggets of gold that left me feeling satisfied, and I left pleasantly exhausted from a good workout of my laughing muscles.

The first act, Hong Kong’s own Pete Grella (who usually performs at Takeout Comedy) made hilarious fun of fat Americans, as well as plenty of other racial stereotypes thrown in for good measure.

Next up was Sean Hebert (also a Takeout Comedy regular), a native Canadian, long-term Asia expat. Sean made hysterical observations about expats in Hong Kong, although some of them were a little predictable. He injected politics into his act, which was a very welcome addition that gave the audience a brief break from all the smut. Not that he went easy on the penis either; one of his skits involved 11 (or was it 17?) consecutive penis jokes, all based around a new buzzword ‘procrasturbation’.

The main act of the night, Ari Shaffir, is a Jewish American who hosts a Comedy Central show and is involved with a couple of comic podcasts. This China tour is his first trip to the country and he made the obligatory, but amusing, jokes about Beijing toilets and Hong Kong taxi drivers. His act was sprinkled with hits and misses, the former outnumbering the latter, leaving a generally good impression. He began with several stories about his own drug-taking escapades that were funny to start with, but boring by the end. When will people realise that stories about being high are only really funny when you are high and with other people who are also high? He offered priceless literary commentary, “Robert Frost is a fucking idiot”, you’ll have to see the show to find out why.  His grand finale was a side-splitting saga involving a particularly ill-timed bout of diarrhoea which made my stomach so sore from laughing it almost felt like I’d contracted dysentery myself.

Salon de Ning is a great venue for this kind of show. It’s small, intimate and beautifully decorated, which (almost) makes up for the ridiculously overpriced drinks. Arrive early if you want to secure yourself a back seat safe from the comedians’ line of sight.

Ari Shaffir is playing on Thursday night at the Le Meridien in Cyberport and on Saturday night at Backstage Live in Central. For more information, click here.

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review, comedy, hongkong

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 4.0


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