The other night I caught Keith Cheng's very funny comedy performance for Bris Funny Fest. This intimate performance might not be for everyone, but gets great laughs from anyone who sympathises (or is it empathises) with Keith's journey to work out where he fits in the world. For many of the nights, he will be joined by Jennifer Burke for an extra half hour of jokes.
Keith is from Hong Kong and came to Australia to study a Masters in Astrophysics. So obviously a smart guy. But like a lot of us, he has struggled in life to get the things like a permanent job, a girlfriend and so on. Maybe it is him, maybe it is the world or probably it is a combination of both. Whatever the truth, Keith thinks these problems are funny, so he invites you to laugh about it with him.
Keith's comedy comes from just honestly saying what he is thinking. He doesn't tell jokes as such, it is just that his real outlook on life is very funny. Some people in the audience will laugh (and laugh hard and loud) at one joke, then the next joke it is will be other people laughing. Then, of course, there are things that we all laugh at.
Keith is also very interactive. He has no time for that artificial barrier between performer and audience. We are all invited to talk, interact and be part of the show. I think he just wants to have a fun time with people there. He is a true Fringe comedy act.
Going to a show by Keith would be a bit like hanging out with him while he is talking about his life. Sometimes you are laughing with him, sometimes you are laughing at him, or maybe sometimes you are laughing at yourself.
The show is very interactive and like a very funny conversation with Keith at the centre. The show is also very self-effacing. Keith is the sort of person who can open his mouth and strange, stupid and often funny things will emerge. It seems that the show is his way of collecting all these little events in life and telling us the funniest parts. But also through interaction with others, you know a lot of humour rises spontaneously.
To understand a bit more about Keith's comedic style, he has collected a number of nasty comments people have made over the years to him. He reads these to the audience for the laughs. To some extent, I guess he is unpacking these comments, after all some of the comments seem to arise from his own stupidity. But clearly others come from the commentator's intolerance.
But Keith, if you are reading to this, I want to be part of your next show, and to do that I need to write something nasty. Not that I am good at the really nasty comments you have gotten before, but let me have a few tries.
First try is Dude, it is so nice to see someone even more socially inept than me.
I guess I can be nastier, let's see, Keith, if the comedy doesn't work out there is always a vacancy at the nearby street corner for a hobo that yells out random crazy things.
To be honest Keith, I don't know if you are a genius on an idiot. But if you are an idiot, then the fact that you have worked out how to get people to give you money to be an idiot, is pure genius.
Also joining the show is Raw Comedy Grand Finalist Jennifer Burke
For at least some of the shows, Brisbane Comedian and Raw Comedy Grand Finalist Jennifer Burke will open for Keith Cheng. Her goal is to try out some of her new material, so her part of the show is fairly uneven. But it is an extra half hour of comedy for free (they will pass a hat around if you want to put some money in it for her).
The show is held in a room at the lovely Five Sisters Cafe in South Brisbane (up Melbourne Street, just on the border to West End). The venue is fully licensed and does great coffee. If you want to eat, then they have a nice Greek menu for dinner. You will want to eat before the show though, as there is limited space to eat while watching the show.
Is Keith a comedy genius or just idiotic enough that people laugh at him? I think like many great artists he is brutally honest, both with himself and the world. It is definitely something original and worth experiencing. Maybe it won't be to everyone's taste, but comedy is always very individual. There is a slight feeling of being uncomfortable during his performance. Which can then be released in a big belly laugh. Ultimately a great Fringe comedy act.
Bris Funny Fest
Keith Cheng will be performing as part of the Bris Funny Fest. This comedy festival features young, alternative and Fringe comedians trying their stuff, usually in smaller venues. Remember checking out a Bris Funny Fest performance is all about trying something different and supporting local upcoming Brisbane talent.