September: that crappy month commonly associated with “back-to-school” and the dreaded end to summer. But for everyone else who’s out of school, the upcoming month is all about the hoots, cackles and embarrassing double snorts as the 9th Annual Hong Kong International Comedy Festival barrel-rolls into town.
From Sept. 3 to 26, dozens of comedians from around the world will perform and compete in one of Asia’s biggest comedy festivals. The competition’s preliminary rounds (HKD200 per show) take place on Sept. 17-19, followed by the finals (HKD300) on Sept. 26. The winner will be rewarded HKD40,000 as well as guaranteed comedy gigs in the US.
Competition will be fierce, with 30 comedians, 10 in each preliminary round, tickling their way to the title. Before and after the bahaha battles, a line-up of too-good-to-compete performers – Roy Wood Jr., John Robertson, Vivek Mahbubani, the People’s Liberation Improv, Gina Yashere, Jim Brewsky and Ben Quinlan – will be setting the pace.
Let’s take a quick look at a few of them:
British-Nigerian standup comedian and TV star Gina Yashere will not only be performing for two days (Sept. 24 & 25), but she’ll also be hosting the Comedy Competition finals. She was a finalist for NBC’s Last Comic Standing, had her own feature on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and was awarded “Best Female Comediation” at the Black Entertainment & Comedy Awards four years in a row. With her “infectious personality and cheeky observations” her shows are often a sell-out – so one definitely not to miss at the festival.
You can see him on Comedy Central’s “@Midnight”, ESPN’s “SportsNation”, the “Conan O’Brien Show”, or better yet, in person Sept. 3-5 here in Hong Kong. Last Comic Standing Finalist in 2010, Roy Wood Jr. will be kicking off the festival. He’s known for vaulting over cultural boundaries and leaving the audience in a in state of comical ponderance.
After faking a seizure on Australian Idol in 2003 (as one does), John Robertson has finally found his limelight as a comedian, TV presenter, columnist and game designer – while he also adds “crowdsurfer” to his bio. He won the Critic’s Choice Award in 2010 and the Best Show in 2011 at the Wild West Comedy Festival. His video “The Dark Room”, which went viral on Youtube, will be performed live in Hong Kong on Sept. 12. You can also catch his fantastic standup on Sept. 10 or 11.
Jim Brewsky and Ben Quinlan
Last year’s Hong Kong International Comedy Competition winner, Jim Brewsky, will be teaming up with Ben Quinlan on Sept. 12 in their presentation of “The BJ Show”. Some may recognise Brewsky and Quinlan from the stage at Hong Kong’s Takeout Comedy Club, as both are regulars. And with two performers, the show ought to be double as funny… right, lads?!
So get ready for a month of loud cackles, high pitched giggles and the occasional little bits of wee in your pants.
What: The 9th Annual Hong Kong International Comedy Festival
When: Sept. 3-26 (show times vary)
Where: Various venues
Price: HKD150-HKD300Tickets: Tickets for the Finals go on sale in early September here or call (+852) 3128-8288. Visit Take Out Comedy or call (+852) 6220-4436 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets to the warm-up rounds.
Header photo: Steven Seller via Flickr