Consistent high-quality performers solicit belly laughs in this comedy revue
Wednesday I had the pleasure of checking out a comedy revue featuring Asian comics with a wide spectrum of backgrounds and styles. Comedian Rush Kazi presents monthly comedy shows at the Rivoli, and one of them is Asian Comedy All Stars, a comedy revue showcasing comics from Asia, or of Asian descent.
This month’s revue featured Anto Chan, Thurka Gunaratman, Zeeshan Ansari, Carolina DG, Big Norm, Shuhei Murakami, and headliner Cassie Cao. The show also featured two burlesque numbers by Imogen Quest.
A few months ago, I reviewed the show RICE – another comedy show highlighting Asian talent. While I quite enjoyed myself at RICE and found some common ground with many of the performers, I found myself wishing for more South Asian (and, for that matter, central Asian; Middle Eastern; etc.) representation. Within minutes of Rush Kazi (who is Bangladeshi Canadian) taking the stage, he echoed my sentiments. Recalling a different Asian comedy show, he quipped, “everyone was East Asian, and I was like, ‘Asia’s pretty big!’… I was missing me”.
I was really impressed with the diversity of this show, by which I not only mean the cultures of origin among the comedians. There was a wide range of age (e.g. Ansari is only 19 years old); how long some of the comedians have been in Canada (Ansari and Murakami are relative newcomers while some of the other comics were born here); and of course, the range of comedic styles.
Much of the comedic content of the evening centred around being a diasporic Asian bumping up against North American culture, taking the piss out of white folks, and our relationships with our parents. Much like my time at RICE, relatable content abounds, but I was also grateful for the comedic insight into cultures quite different from mine.
The show closes with karaoke to complete “the Asian experience”; though I wasn’t able to stay for that portion of the evening, karaoke is a great love of mine, so I’m sure I missed out big time!
Overall, I really enjoyed myself at this show. All the comedians got a belly laugh from me, and I was really impressed by the consistency and quality of performances. I would recommend this revue to all comedy fans, especially my Asian kin.
- Asian Comedy All Stars is a reoccurring show at Rivoli (334 Queen St W) – Rush Kazi produces a show monthly, and Asian Comedy All Stars is one of the properties.
- Doors open at 8pm and the show starts at 9pm
- Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door
- Seating is first come first served, with limited standing room
- Karaoke after every show
Photo by Jeremy Worrall