There have been other players promoting comedy in this region, but Jonathan Atherton was responsible for establishing the genre in Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and even Saigon. Yes, this guy’s on a mission — although we suspect it’s not one from God. Man at the helm of Comedy Club Asia, and now with his own venue in Kuala Lumpur, the Crackhouse, Atherton first came to these fine climes in the 1990s. With 10 languages under his belt — he speaks them fluently, mind you — and boasting acting roles alongside none other than Robin Williams, this versatile and dynamic comic is set to light up the stages of Vietnam and have you peeing your pants. This guy is funny, so bring your catheters.
Of course, no show in this country is complete without the support, and coming all the way from the tropical paradise of Poland will be another man of firsts, Peter Szumowski. A young, talented comedian, Peter’s five years on stage and national TV has seen him win a number of Polish awards (untranslatable here). He is also responsible for putting on the first English-language comedy show in Poland. Presently on a life project titled, Comic Around the World, Peter is travelling and performing in every place possible on this globe, from temples in Nepal to streets of New Delhi, cock fighting arenas in Mexico and Aussie Sports Bars in, erm, Vietnam. Fortunately he’s performing his English set. So, nothing lost in translation on this one.
Also popping over for the Saigon show will be American, Phnom Penh-based gagster, Sam Thomas. Hailing from a place called Boston, Sam brough his flair for stand-up to Phnom Penh three years ago. He has since become a fixture of the Southeast Asian comedy open-mic scene, having performed in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Saigon, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Yangon and Singapore. He excels at telling jokes that won’t get him in trouble with his parents when they watch them on YouTube.
And of course, as ever in Hanoi there will be the story-telling jokesters and magicicans from Hanoi Comedy Collective. If you’ve seen them before, then take them in again. With so much comedy heading to the capital, and with you as the guinea pigs, they’re constantly writing new material.