Comedian, writer & Filmmaker

Category: Blog

Blowhards – On The House Review (Melbourne Comedy Festival)

Here are some more reviews we received from punters from the On The House website:

Lids
Highly recommend!

starstarstarstarstar

 

 

marydoc
We loved the boys. Warm, funny, talented. Very entertaining.

starstarstarstarstar

 

 

Leigh
Really loved these guys. The combination of music with Jason’s engaging comedy style was a winner.

starstarstarstar

 

 

kt
If you like music with your comedy this is awesome. It was entertaining and responsive to the audience.

starstarstarstar

 

 

MIRANDA
Enjoyed the laid back syle of these guys and the audience participation. Music was very good. Loved the dog song!

starstarstar

 

 

penelope_jade
Fantastic gig, great audience participation, would recommend you see these guys

starstarstarstarstar

 

 

laureneliseha
Really fun! Loved the dogs in outfits!

starstarstarstar

 

 

Naomi
Fun

starstarstarstar

 

 

rachely

I loved this gig! entertaining, light, great audience interaction/participation – go see them!

starstarstarstarstar

 

 

 

Thanks everyone for coming!

Blowhards – TREv Review (Adelaide Fringe)

More often than not at the Adelaide Fringe it’s the unknown shows you take a chance on that end up some of your favourites. This is what happened when I saw Jason Chong (Nova, The Project) and Chris Weber (Hilltop Hoods, The Transatlantics) in Blowhards. A comedian and a muso, together they charm audiences with their unique brand of musical comedy.

This show combined my three favourite things; parody songs, audience participation, and heart. And with an audience filled with what seemed to mostly be the artists’ family and friends, it had plenty of heart. Between their lively banter, Chong’s mother’s numerous interruptions and his constant references to his “Door-wife”, the show felt like a family function, but with better jokes and people who actually liked each other.

The duo played an impressive set list which covered a range of topics springing from his anecdotes, with a heart-felt ballad to his wife (and modern dating trends) and a Kasey Chambers cover lamenting the problems of being half-Asian, as some of my favourites. It’s not easy to pull off a comedy routine through music, but Chong and Weber made it look so effortless I could’ve listened to them for hours.

Throughout the performance they would interlude with a few opening bars of a Lionel Richie classic in various languages as part of “Hello Bingo”. With the top prize a set of tickets to see the Fringe show of another local act, it was great to see such a cross-promotional gesture for up-and-coming talent.

After taking a backseat for much of the performance, Chris Weber stood up and performed somewhat of a musical experiment worthy of Reggie Watts, which really demonstrated his skills (if expertly switching between trumpet and trombone all night wasn’t impressive enough).

The only downside to the performance would have to be venue. While the Elephant British Pub is an excellent location, it was a busy Friday night and there wasn’t a way to block out the rumble from patrons downstairs. This proved distracting in the beginning, but I was able to ignore it for the most part as the show got going.

In all, Blowhards is a simply excellent show. It’s funny and clever and arguably one of the best acts I’ve seen this Adelaide Fringe. If you’re looking for a good, enjoyable night out with easy bar access, definitely check them out.

– Simone Corletto, TREv

Original article: http://trev.org.au/index.php?PID=1315

Blowhards – RipItUp Review (Adelaide Fringe)

Adelaide comedian Jason Chong (Nova, The Project) has teamed up with musician Chris Weber (Hilltop Hoods, The Transatlantics) to create Blowhards, a show with music, comedy and bingo.

Chong is so natural on stage, often using self-deprecating humour to get the audience onside before hitting them with his sharp, improvised wit and cleverly written routine.

He plays guitar and sings to his audience about being Asian, his comedy pet hates, and sexting misfortune.

There’s also a bit of language bingo for fans of a little competitive gaming.

Weber is a talented brass musician who accompanies Chong on trumpet and trombone, complementing the comedy and adding his own comic interludes.

The pair work really well together; they bounce jokes off each other creating charismatic dialogue which moves the show along nicely.

Blowhards provides constant chuckles and some great belly laughs; the beauty of it being in the variation of the comic delivery.

Being a musical duo who write satirical songs has been done before, but using an accomplished brass musician who uses his instruments to provide comical sounds and amusing intervals is delightfully original.

Check out Blowhards for some musical enjoyment, lots of giggles and a spot of bingo.

Libby Parker, RipItUp

Original article: http://ripitup.com.au/festivals/adelaide-fringe-festival/adelaide-fringe-reviews/review-jason-chong-and-chris-weber-blowhards/

Punching Upwards

Punching upwards.

In an issue about ethnic comedy, starting an article with the word “punching” might not be a good idea…

But it’s an important concept, and one that doesn’t just apply to ethnic comedy.  Punching upwards is the idea that people like to see you “sticking it to the man”, but don’t like to see the little guy get beat up (or girl, because some comics are girls).

I don’t want this to be a tirade about how tough it is to be an ethnic in this industry.  I’ve found the opposite to be true.  I’ve got many opportunities I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, it’s allowed me to find my voice quicker, be more memorable on lineups, and it’s allowed me to say things I wouldn’t have been able to say otherwise.

And this certainly isn’t a statement on diversity in comedy.  I’ve found that it’s very rare that those who would like to try stand up comedy are denied an opportunity – if you want to get on stage, you’ll find a way.  Perhaps the male-dominated, predominantly Caucasian Australian comedy industry more as a reflection of who wants to give it a go in the first place than an effect of the industry only giving further opportunities to certain archetypes.

But punching upwards.

(Hehe, “butt-punching”.)

Every society has a pecking order.  And punching up is the idea that you’re allowed to have a go at those above you.  If you pick on someone below you, then it’s bullying, which nobody likes.  Unfortunately that leaves the majority of the comedy fraternity at the top of the food chain, and sometimes confused as to how they got there.

Ironically, it is one of the few things that disadvantages the White, middle-class male comedian (hereto referred to as “a Dave”) and therefore the one thing that (deliciously) makes him understand what it’s like to be on the outer.  Whether it’s on stage as part of a lineup of 6 other Daves and an ethnic, off stage, in the comments section of news.com articles or someone on a street corner wearing Ugg boots and shorts declaring “political correctness gone bloody bonkers”, there’s a common argument of “why can’t I make fun of them?  I make fun of everyone the same”.  And then they tell some heinous joke about Muslims and wonder why people are leaving the room.

When it’s not going bloody bonkers, political correctness is a concept that those who are advantaged within a society acknowledge that they find themselves in a privileged position, and give consideration to those who don’t enjoy that position.  It is about an equalitarian society being cultivated by those with the power to make it so.

But why CAN’T a Dave talk about Muslims without feeling the rooms’ butthole tighten?  Jon Stewart did a great piece on it in relation to White entitlement in regards to the racial tensions in Ferguson that’s definitely worth checking out.

There is a difference between racial and racist.  And it’s all to do with the question “does this come from a place of understanding?” It’s fine to be critical of an ethnicity or minority if it comes from a genuine place of knowledge, but if it comes from generalisations and popularly held half-truths, that’s the definition of stereotyping.  The people that most understand a culture are the people within that culture.  And very seldom a White middle-class male telling you about his encounter with a group of Bangladeshi women on the tram, now with added accents.

Whenever I hear a Dave start a bit about race or “all women”, I get nervous.  For them.  It’s really hard to pull off.  Although when it’s done well, it’s a thing of beauty.  Often when it works, a Dave puts themselves in the position to be the fall guy. It’s the instant assumption about the situation or culture that is the punchline.  This lets the audience – in all probability a bunch of Daves themselves – champion the underdog and stick it to the man at the same time.

Russell Peters is an example of someone who does it well.  He seems to have a genuine understanding of the groups he picks on.  The best way I can explain that is that it was my Dad (an immigrant from Singapore) who introduced me to him, forwarding me a clip of Russell’s Asian accent, that had already been shared around all his friends, with comments like “this is spot on”.  My dad and his friends introduced me to one of the biggest comedians in the world.  I’m a little ashamed of that.  Worse still, it was a quicktime movie attached to an email, because my dad and his friends hadn’t heard of YouTube yet.

But in the hands of a less masterful Dave, more often than not the bit will lie heavily on stereotypes, and the moment it does, it loses credibility, and consequently (whether fairly or unfairly) the perceived “truth” of the bit.

I’ve often heard improv people say “don’t play for the laugh, play for the truth”.  And although bewildering at the time, it totally makes sense now.  Audiences don’t want to hear an uninformed opinion on some else’s culture.  That will make them want to put a wall (both emotional and brick) between themselves and you.  They want a perspective that has a certain truth to it.  It might be something they can identify with, or something that confronts them, but it has to have an honesty to it.

Think of it as McDonald’s versus your local souvlaki place. If McDonald started criticising them, that’s not cool, but it’s fine other way around.  It’s Aristos vs Goliath.

So why then can a Dave can talk a bunch of smack about his girlfriends and it’s fine?  Because it’s a specific person, not a generalisation.  The audience assumes, regardless of the things he’s saying about her, he has spent enough time with her that it comes from a place of understanding.

Of course, this is all one person’s opinion.  And for every argument I’ve made, there will be an example of someone purposely doing the opposite to great success.  But the more opinions you seek out, the better placed you’ll be to make an informed decision and become the best Dave you can be.

Punching up has been there since the beginning of comedy.  There’s a reason why it’s a man slipping on a banana peel and not an orphaned African girl.  People want to root for the underdog and they want to see them succeed.  Especially in this country.  So when you think about it, Ethnics verbally bashing White People is one of the most Australian things there is.

By Jason Chong, age 34

Fun Game!

I’ve put together a quick list of groups in Australia and the hierarchy I think they might form.  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Cut them out and have fun reordering them while Ethnics take all of your women and jobs!

  1. The 1% (Rich people)
  2. Christians
  3. Nickelback
  4. Daves
  5. Students
  6. Hipsters
  7. Nerds
  8. Environmentalists
  9. The Elderly
  10. Bogans
  11. Greeks and Italians
  12. White Women
  13. Asians
  14. Sub-continental Asians
  15. Muslims
  16. Physically disabled
  17. Mentally disabled

This article originally appeared in YAWP Magazine‘s “Race, Culture and Humour” Issue #28

2015 Festivals

I thought I’d give you a quick heads up on where I’ll be for the 2015 Festival season, and where you can buy tickets as they become available.

 

HFTC-PF-DL-Flyer-WebHits From The Chong Fringeworld Perth

 

Blowhads-AF-DL-Flyer-WebBlowhards (with Chris Weber) Adelaide Fringe

 

Blowhads-AF-DL-Flyer-WebBlowhards (with Chris Weber) Melbourne Comedy Festival

 

 

 

 

Happy Father’s Day

This Father’s Day is a really sad one for me as it’s the first one since my Dad passed away.

I’m having lots of feelings, so I’m going to write a few of them down.

A year ago, I was in the middle of the most stressful time in my life. To sum it all up in a few sentences, after many years of failing health, Dad had (finally) been diagnosed with cardio amyloidosis – a slow hardening of his heart due to a build up of protein. It is quite rare, and pretty much untreatable.

As Dad had been divorced for 30 years and I am his only surviving child, I had made the decision to move back from Melbourne to care for him. He would have hated a nursing home. In the year prior to last Father’s Day, I had to leave a career that was gaining momentum, move states, gotten married to a wonderful woman who was cool with the fact that her Father in law would be living (and probably dying) with us, we’d moved house again from our places in Melbourne (mine) and a share house in Adelaide (hers) into a place that would fit Dad, my best mate (who was living alone on an army base), and the two of us.

We’d gone on a honeymoon (my wife and I – the best man stayed home) receiving the news on our second day away that Dad had been admitted to hospital again, and I had performed shows at the Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne Comedy Festival and on a Cruise ship. At the end of all that, Dad had moved in with us, and after 5 months, we were starting to get a lot of static from certain friends of his who disagreed with how we were trying to take care of him.

During this time, I started a video blog called “While my Dad goes to the toilet” which I recorded as I waited the half an hour each night that my dad went to the toilet before I would help him into bed. It’s me at my most run down, frustrated and venting and I haven’t been able to bring myself to rewatch any of it but the Father’s Day episode I just saw.

On Fathers Day a year ago, Dad woke up in a foul mood, and it was a hard slog to bring him out of it. After we got him in a decent frame of mind, we took him to his favourite fish and chip place which restarted an eternal argument over his diet, and there were constant phone calls to both him and me from his friends asking to take him out on what we all knew would be our last Father’s Day together, which I found pretty insulting.

But whatever I thought was making my life tough, I can’t imagine what Dad was going through. I can’t imagine, because that’s not the kind of relationship we had. Occasionally he’d share how scared he was of dying, but more often, he was would deflect a lot of honest conversation by being sarcastic and grumpy. Not in a mean way, that was just my Dad.

Within the next month, Dad got a leg infection and had to go to hospital again. Even at that time, I knew that he wouldn’t be coming home. He spent a couple of months with the wonderful people at Mary Potter Hospice and passed away on November 20th.

My life since then has been very difficult. Sadness hits me a lot, and as much as I have the very best people around me, it’s been a very lonely process. Organising a funeral, trying to go through Dad’s house, getting his affairs in order, dealing with a complicated estate, paying his bills – it’s a process that I can’t fully share with anyone, even those that are helping me with it. And when I think about how I don’t have a Dad anymore, my grief is paralysing.

In addition to that, right after his death, I had to write a new comedy show to perform in 2 festivals. It wasn’t a show I was happy with, and to perform it for 2 months to disappointing crowds and moderate reactions has left me quite uninspired by performing. I tried desperately to take some time off once the festivals were over, but things kept coming up and this week is the first time I’ve been able to take some time to myself. And mostly, that time has been taken up by me clearing things off my massive to-do list that never seems to get any smaller.

I haven’t even had time to thank the people who have been so generous to my Dad and I over the past 2 years. My amazing wife who has willingly stepped in every puddle of crap with me. I have asked a lot of her over the past 2 years and she has only ever given me her total support. I am humbled by her.

My mum, who helped me with all the practical things that I couldn’t get done myself as well as kicking Dad up the arse when he needed it. My best mate, who found himself living in the middle of this emotional washing machine which meant his wants and needs were largely ignored by the household – it must have been very tough to live amongst.

Dad’s heart nurse, Lyn, who ended up visiting Dad at home every day and was an generous vessel for me to dump my frustrations. I haven’t thanked her personally yet because I can’t find a way that really conveys how much I appreciate her dedication to Dad. Dallas, Dad’s palliative care nurse who organised a lot of Dad’s care and took the time to explain things so that we could understand them. The RDNS staff who visited Dad at home, Dad’s myriad of doctors, and especially the staff at Mary Potter Hospice, who allowed my Dad to live his last few months in as much comfort as possible, always greeted him with a smile and provided an ending of dignity that I didn’t know was possible before I met them. Again, I haven’t found a way to thank them that will let them know how much I appreciate them.

And Dad’s friends. All of them. The ones who visited, the ones who Dad-sitted so I could go to work. The ones who took him out and listened to him complain about how I wouldn’t let him eat his favourite foods anymore. Even the ones who let him eat that food, and told me I was doing a bad job looking after him. I know they were only looking out for a mate, and wanted what they thought was best for him.

Realistically, I feel this has broken my career. I moved to Melbourne 3 years ago – 31 years old ready to make headway into the big time. Now I’m 34 and even if I could move back within a year, I’d be 36 before I was at the same place I was when I was 31. Except I’d be 36, with a wife that I’d need to uproot, and the increasing probability of kids.  There’s not enough work to be a full time comic in Adelaide and I don’t feel funny at the moment.

But I wouldn’t ever have done this differently. My Dad needed me, and I was the only one he could count on to help. It was my responsibility and one I’d perform again if given the chance.

So what’s the point of all this? I’m not trying to ruin your Father’s Day or make you feel guilty for having a Dad. This is the first chance I’ve had in 9 months to spend some time reflecting on my relationship with my Dad. And here’s what I’ve come up with.

You die how you live. There’s no magical moment at the end of a life where father and son become best mates and laugh and hug and cry. A relationship isn’t built on one moment, but of all the moments that make up your time together. So the way you want to be remembered is the way you need to live. I constantly catch myself thinking “I’ll do it better next time around” with one off things, as if I get a chance to restart and have another go. But that’s not how life works. Even if reincarnation is your thing, you don’t get a do-over with this particular life.

So if you want an honest and open relationship with your Dad, it needs to start now, if not years ago. If you want to know more about his past, you have to ask him. If you want him to know that you love him, you have to tell him. I know my Dad knows that I love him, but it felt weird to say out loud, and it would have been nice for him to hear me say it. Same goes the other way, too.

Dad eating an icecreamAt some point, it WILL be too late to start. I don’t know when that is, I can’t imagine anyone does. But it’s never too early to start, and its not a pass/fail kind of thing anyway, so the more you live with positive relationships, the better they’ll be at the end.

I’ve had a happy Fathers Day, surrounded by friends, family and laughter. I wish my Dad could be here, but it’s a nice knowing that friends, family and laughter were the three things my Dad enjoyed and valued the most in his life, and it’s a nice way to pretend he’s still here.

Happy Fathers Day Papa Chong. I love you.

Back in Radelaide

After a whirlwind 6 months, that included living in Melbourne, trips back to Adelaide to visit Kirsty, my fiance, emergency trips back to Adelaide to visit my dad, moving back to Adelaide, moving house twice, buying a queen sized bunk bed, a wedding (probably the highlight), a honeymoon to Singapore, Thailand and Japan (wait, maybe that was the highlight), Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne Comedy Festival, it’s finally time to settle into Adelaide life once again.

I’ve moved back to Adelaide for a few reasons.  My dad is crook and so I want to be near him.  In fact, we got a place he could move into, which he’s done.  So we have a house with me and my new wife, my dad and the best man.  I must start writing that sitcom.

The other reason is that Kirsty and I lived apart last year (her in Adelaide and I in Melbourne) for work, but then we got married and didn’t want to do that anymore.  Why not Melbourne, where nurse work is plentiful and there are opportunities for comedians as far as the eye can see?  We had a wager that the person who had the best employment as we walked down the aisle would determine where we lived.

Adelaide won.

While I feel living in Melbourne was good for me comedy-wise, it’s time for me to be a good son and a good husband for a while, and then we’ll see what happens.

While I’m here, I’ll keep gigging, and steal the occasional trips away when I feel dad is stable enough.  But I’m also working behind the scenes a bit with Adelaide Comedy, and I’m about to start my own night called The Barrel.  More on that very, very soon.

And I’ve also started a video production company called 1Up Digital with Maz, who you may remember from Festival Fishbowl.  In fact, we just finished our first video for Howling Owl, which is part of Rhino Room, which I will excitedly show you now:

All in just 6 months.  Can’t wait to see what the next 6 months brings!

Melbourne Comedy Festival 2013

Oh Hai,

I know you think the best time to tell you about shows I’m doing in a festival is before that festival starts, but that’s just because you assume you know how this crazy business works.

In fact, recent studies have shown that the optimal time to let audiences know about shows you’re doing is EXACTLY HALFWAY THROUGH the run. Doesn’t sound right to me, but a guy on a tram told me. He then said something about needing a dollar and that he had a legion of spiders, so I assume he went to Uni or something.

Anyway, I’m in Melbourne doing a show called “Edinburgh Festabesta” at the Last Laugh Comedy Club. The great news is that also appearing on the lineup is Troy Kinne and probably my favourite comedian in Australia, Lawrence Mooney.

Loz has the ability to make me laugh from so far down in my gut that I make noises I didn’t know I could make. I have sat in audiences and laughed so hard I actually cried, and my stomach burned from joy.

Not only that, he has a special place in my heart because I had a drink with him in Adelaide many years ago with a lady friend of mine after a show. He asked her if we were dating and although she meant to say “no”, she accidentally said “not yet”. Flash forward to a few months ago and I made her my wife.

Now I don’t know if she was scheming me or if Loz put the suggestion into her head, but most probably his comedy released endorphins into her soul, I said hello and she mistook the feeling for love.

Anyway. I’m really enjoying the show, and if you’d like to come along, you can get tickets here: Edingburgh Festabesta.

Also, you totally missed Festival Fishbowl in the Adelaide Fringe, but you can check out all the episodes on YouTube.

Cheers,
Jas

P.S. If you wondering why I didn’t perform a new show in Adelaide or Melbourne this year, its because we got married in November, I moved back to Adelaide, then went on a honeymoon and got back the day before Fringe started. I’m super-keen to do one next year, but I was also keen to not ruin our honeymoon by being my usual self-absorbed pre-festival self. I found plenty of other, newer ways to ruin it.

Free Emotichong download!

Hey Errbody!

For the next little while, you can download my Emotichong show for FREE!

Just sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll email you a link where you can find it.

(If you want to buy the physical DVD with an hour of extras, go to www.jasonchong.com.au/store) Read More

Il Dago II

Il Dago II

One of the biggest shows at this year’s Fringe! Australian and International Comedy Ledgends George Kapinaris, Joe Avati and Simon Palomares with some idiot as host. 8pm Thursday to Sunday at the Arkaba.

NEWSFLASH!

Due to demand, we’ve had to add more shows!  Extra show are Tues 15th, Wed 16th and Thurs 17th March.  For more info or to book tickets, call the Arkaba on 8338 1100.

Read More