Review: Asiansploitation: The Text Generation

photo of the cast of Asiansploitation: The Text Generation by Ralph Nogal

 Asiansploitation kills with comedy at the George Ignatieff Theatre in Toronto

When you leave Toronto’s George Ignatieff Theatre after seeing Asiansploitation’s The Text Generation, chances are you will be scratching your head, feeling lost, like you are halfway through a Sudoku puzzle. You won’t be looking for numbers, though- you’ll be asking yourself “Why the Fukui aren’t the people in this show gigantic stars?”

You might also be considering looking up a good acupuncture therapist on a mobile app, because your jaw will be so sore from an entire evening of laughing out loud.

Asiansploitation do shows that are quite simply brilliant. They are comprised of skits that are high-energy, fast-moving, wickedly intelligent and absolutely hilarious. The mostly introspective skits are performed by six great-looking people who can also sing and dance.

The subject matter of the comedy is generally exploring personal traits that we all share or relate to. In that regard, the comedy is more like Seinfeld than it is Saturday Night Live. It is absurd but intelligent and introspective. Perhaps it can be described as the men’s room at The Office.

Larry King, of all people, once said that the problem with Saturday Night Live is that they take something that is funny for thirty seconds and turn it into a seven minute piece. Asiansploitation The Text Generation takes an idea that is funny for two minutes and turns it into something that is hilarious and thoughtful for five minutes. Seriously.

Did I mention that the performers are good looking? Lana Carillo is especially gorgeous, and she is a great singer, too. She’s a doll who oozes charisma, and she’s not much larger than a doll. We’ve all heard the question “Imagine if they harnessed their powers for good instead of evil?” Well, Carillo harnesses her Napoleon Syndrome for excellence instead of rumpled brows and heartburn.

One of many great skits was a musical number that was a take on an old Bel Biv Devoe song. I won’t spoil the surprise, but the wonderfully choreographed dance number involves a particular Chinese condiment and something you might give a rat to kill it. You’re thinking and scratching your head again, aren’t you?

I really must drop the names of all performers. They are Byron Abalos, Gene Abella, James Cheng, Jeff B Santos, Franco Nguyen and the aforementioned Lana Carillo. If you see any of their names in any production, don’t hesitate, go see it.

If there was anything I didn’t like about Asiansploitation The Text Generation, it was that the final skit was political. At a recent Rolling Stones show, Mick Jagger said “We’re not going to make jokes about Rob Ford. It’s too easy.” Confucius offers good advice and so does “The Lips”.

If they must address the matter of whether our Mayor is a crackhead or not, I wish they’d done it in the vein of previous skits. Our addiction to smartphones really can be scary, and Asiansploitation shines a light on that in a hilarious and thought-provoking way. Half of Toronto seems to be consumed with destroying Rob Ford. Maybe shining a light on that addiction isn’t popular, but if Asiansploitation is going to go political, they owe it to themselves to be smart, insightful and a little subversive when they do.

That being said, even though I thought it was wrong to attack Toronto’s Mayor, I enjoyed the skit. It was had great singing, great dancing and high energy. I just said I didn’t like it because I’m jealous of Asiansploitation’s immense talents!

Beam yourself over to anything Asianspolitation ever does, even if the show is in Sherbrooke.

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Photograph of the company by Raph Nogal.