Who are Hong Kong's Funniest Stand-up Comedians and Jokesters
December 12, 2022
Hong Kong has long been, and is a stressful city to work and live in, with a rush of non-stop energy present throughout its streets, and people running around. The city is rife with oddities, weird characters, and bizarre scenarios that make joking an escape for the craziness.
While smaller than neighbouring cities, Hong Kong’s comedy scene has attracted grassroots attention and international headlines for years. Here are the funniest figures of them all, who you should try and catch in the city!
Hong Kong’s star joke boy, trading quips in both fluent Cantonese and English, Vivek is what the city knows as comedy’s face in the streets and at the shows. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Vivek Mahbubani sees the city through the lens of an ethnic minority, while also riffing and mocking the craziness of our home in the language of the locals
Known as @69ranch online, the man himself Jordan Leung is a new ranker in the comedy scene but has dominated headlines and shows since he began shooting to fame in early 2021. Joking in Cantonese, Jordan targets his jokes to point out our wacky yet uniquely Hong Kong habits and behaviours, whilst his English routines focus on a more ‘ABC style of comedy’.
Born in Los Angeles, but raised in the great state of Hong Kong, Garron Chiu has soaked up the funny jokes and comedic material of both nations. He began stand-up more than a decade ago, placing 3rd in Hong Kong’s International Comedy Competition in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and 2018, in addition to having performed with international acts. He has been seen rubbing elbows with comedy stars like Ari Schaffir, Pete Lee, Dwayne Perkins, and Tom Rhodes.
Kari Gunnarsson fronts himself as many things – a data scientist for a large bank, a rabid traveller, black belt in BJJ, and a supposed scrub lord in Dota 2 – but he has also reigned high in the ranks of the comedy scene from 2018 and onwards. Fans of his comedy know him for his quips and takes on Hong Kong drinking culture, nightlife, and being an Icelandic expat in Asia.
Corporate worker by day, but one of Hong Kong’s funniest female comics in her own time, Bianca Lau invokes comparisons with your Margaret Cho’s or Ali Wong’s of the world. She takes aim at anything weird about the city, including but not limited to, weird expat bros, life in baking Dubai, casual sex and dating in the 852, and French culture.
Co-founder of the Bitches in Stitches, Hong Kong’s first and only femme-focused comedy troupe, Dannie Aildasani, has enjoyed a long journey joking in Hong Kong, beginning in the 2010s. Championing what it means to be a female comic in Hong Kong, she has pushed the careers of many stand-up goers in the community, namely through former groups Varietea Party, and Broad Appeal.
Canadian-raised Hong Konger Tamby Chan does not hold back with his raunchy comedy, which has made him a name for snappy jokes and regular attendance on shows across the city. He represented Hong Kong in Laugh Factory’s Funniest Person in the World Contest in 2016, and won the Bangkok division of the Magners International Comedy Competition in 2018. Tamby means serious business with his improv.
The trilingual – yes, he can joke in Canto, Mando, and English – comedian Steve Lee uses comedy to tell his story of being born in a Hong Kong refugee camp with a disability, dealing with rejection in Hollywood, and dominating comedy scenes in both West Coast USA and East Asia.
Repping his adopted hometown of Tai Po, where he teachers nearby, Pete Grella has had a career of more than a decade mocking his expat life at shows in Shanghai, Beijing, Manila, Bangkok, Seoul, and Macau, all while embodying the classic expat typecast living in Hong Kong. He is a star at audience work and improv, looking as friendly as he sounds!
The joint co-founder of Bitches in Stitches, Fran Ayala’s comedy interlinks with best friend and comedy partner Dannie, challenging stereotypes prevalent in Asia and on the stage worldwide, being one of the female comics zoning in on male-dominated spaces.
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