Comedian, writer & Filmmaker

Category: Reviews

Jason Chong’s Reel Life – dB Magazine Review

He may be local, but Jason Chong has certainly raised the bar when it comes to comedy at a higher level of production. ‘Reel Life’ sees Chong stand before, beside and within a projection screen as he sets out to stop an evil version of himself creating havoc around town.

After taking delivery of a giant novelty remote control, Chong becomes torn between his good and bad conscious until the devilish latter of the two runs off with the gadget and begins causing trouble. It’s here that events really get going and the protagonist’s usually good spirited stand up skills and geekish references are evenly played out alongside his nastier nemesis’ prankish reign of terror, possibly providing Chong with a perfectly valid outlet for taking his oft-close to the edge brand of humour that little bit further.

As the story unfolds, we’re drawn deeper into the matrix as Chong interacts with a domineering paperclip assistant and forms a cloned boy band that performs covers using ‘body part’ a cappella, as well as displaying some hilarious sandwich board interludes and foregoing some degree of dignity that culminates in the inevitable final battle. Requiring exact synchronised timing and a whole lot of ambition, ‘Reel Life’ is a multi-media experience like no other and one that doesn’t just rely technical gimmickry.

Despite its sometimes disjointed stand up basis, the story as a whole is solid enough to resonate far beyond its ongoing frivolity, and Chong is clearly relishing in his own cleverness and the immediate reaction and awe shown by his audience. And rightly so, this show is bound to be one of the hits of this year’s Fringe Festival, and set to project Chong way beyond Adelaide.

Steve Jones, 17th February 2010

Original article: http://www.dbmagazine.com.au/486/iv-fringereview-JasonChongsReelLife.shtml Read More

Jason Chong's Reel Life – The Advertiser Review

THERE is some seriously smart, high-tech comedy at play here.

Jason Chong melds stand-up routines with theatre and the latest in computer audio-visual projections to create a world where he gets sucked into the big screen.

In an alternate universe which is part video game, part laptop progam, part television and part karaoke machine, Chong tries to keep a balance between his devilish and angelic alter-egos, while also battling his own clones.

All of these characters interact in projected form with the comedian, who leaps seamlessly in and out of the action taking place onscreen.

The sight gags and sleight-of-hand are so good that you’ll find ourself doing double-takes. There are flat spots where the technology slows the pace and it could use a bigger, funnier finale, but bonus points to Chong for taking comedy in such a fresh direction.

Patrick McDonald, 15th February 2010

Original article: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/entertainment/festivals/adelaide-fringe-review-jason-chongs-reel-life/story-fn489y6u-1225830596240

 

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Jason Chong’s Reel Life – Glam Adelaide Review

Jason Chong seems to be turning into more than just a stand up comedian. As one of Adelaide’s great funny men, his engaging nature and ability to connect with the audience appears to be spurning him on to experiment more and more with multimedia. When the audience is on your side, it’s easier to take a chance. Chong not only grasps this opportunity, but he makes it work.

What begins as a stand up routine quickly degenerates into a very complex interactive adventure, where reality and fantasy blend almost seamlessly. Even where things don’t go so smoothly, Chong’s affable nature makes it work regardless.

In Jason Chong’s Reel Life, his routine is interrupted by a devil and an angel over each shoulder. When the angel is accidentally roasted, Chong’s evil doppelganger lets rip and it’s up to the real Chong to fight clones, outwit Diablo and rescue what little remains of his conscience.

With some slight of hand, fast changes and flights of imagination, he steps in and out of the projection, throws and catches things between the two realities and converses with multiple selves. It’s clever stuff, reliant on exact timing and placement, which is what Chong delivers. Even at his preview performance, there was nary a missed beat.

The comedy is hard and fast, ranging from bad puns and fart jokes thought to pop references and biting commentary. There’s something for everyone with the visual escapades just as hilarious as the verbal punch lines.

Kudos go to the un-credited filmmakers and animator for their skills at making the interactivity work. It’s a well planned show, tightly rehearsed and delivered with all the side-splitting madness you’d expect from 2009’s Adelaide Comedian of the Year.

GLAM Adelaide Arts Critic, Rod Lewis, 13th February 2010

Original article: http://www.glamadelaide.com.au/main/jason-chong’s-reel-life/ Read More

Why The Bloody Hell Aren't Ya? – Buzzcuts Review

It was an audience of ten, which made it along to the Northcote Town Hall for Jason Chong’s preview performance of “Why the Bloody Hell Aren’t Ya? An evening of “blood comedy”, the show held it’s own in an intimate setting and proved to be rather thought provoking.

The show is delivered as a comedic lecture, based around the issue of blood donation. Chong talks from personal experience and a wealth of research to both educate and convince the audience on the merits of donating blood.

Opening with a Huey Lewis take off, “The Power of Blood”, the show combines songs, video montages, a PowerPoint presentation, and many an anecdote to bring the comedy into a subject matter Chong clearly takes seriously.

Chong didn’t have me laughing out loud at every turn, but the show does find an effective balance between entertaining and thought provoking.

Chong has been a regular performer in the Australian comedy scene since 2001, and his experience shines through his natural rapport with the audience. He gets the crowd involved, and exudes an infectious, goofy charm.

In an art form where so often the subject matter is below the belt, Chong tackles a serious issue with a light touch, and for those not too squeamish, it will be a rewarding evening, which may even tempt you towards the needle.

Tessa Yee, 8th October 2009

Original article: http://www.expressmedia.org.au/buzzcuts.php?buzz_review_id=406 

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Why The Bloody Hell Aren't Ya? – Groggy Squirrel Review

The question Jason Chong is posing is why more Australians are not giving blood, and it’s a timely one given that 2009 is the Year of the Blood Donor. He does so without judgement or pressure, rather with an unimposing and upbeat delivery and by sharing of his own personal experiences.

From the moment he arrives on stage and bursts into his first of two parodies, “The Power of Blood” (to the tune of Huey Lewis’ ‘The Power of Love’), we quickly learn that Jason knows how to make facts funny. Jason’s quick wit and numerous pop culture references make for a balanced show, where the entertainment is not forsaken for education for a moment.

It really is all about giving blood, covering everything from the donor questionnaire, the actual process, the motivation behind donating, to the personal rewards and most importantly, the need. However, there were a few brief yet welcome diversions from the topic including a discussion around the side affects of acne medication and some graphic-based evidence of various animals’ tolerance to being ridden.

There are times throughout the show where one might question whether Jason is trying to encourage or discourage his audience from donating blood, as he shares some of his blood-related mishaps; however he admits they were mostly of his own causing. He is clearly more intent on telling us all how much fun donating blood can be and why he goes back every fortnight!

Any doubt is put to rest as Jason leads us in an uplifting closing rendition of “What We Need is Blood” (to The Beatle’s ‘All You Need is Love’). Jason was able to engage every member of the audience with his enthusiasm, sincerity and overall likeability. Jason’s show serves as a very convincing case, for anybody who can, to give blood.

Erin Davidson, 7th October 2009

Original article: http://www.thegroggysquirrel.com/articles/2009/09/25/2009-melbourne-fringe-reviews/jason-chongs-why-the-bloody-hell-arent-ya/ Read More

Why The Bloody Hell Aren't Ya? – Northcote Leader Article

There’s blood on the floor

by Suzanne Robson

Play that makes you think – and faint 

 

WHEN Adelaide stand-up comedian Jason Chong hits Northcote this week, he is expecting audiences to give a bit more than applause – he wants blood.

His Fringe Festival show WhytheBloodyHellAren’t Ya? is a comic rundown of blood donation featuring the skewed balladThe PowerofBlood, unusual personal anecdotes and the repercussions of making a mistake on the donation form.

‘‘The first thing they say on the form is please be honest because there are severe fines and/or imprisonment if you fill it out incorrectly,’’ he said.

‘‘One of the questions is: have you had Panadol in the last week? I think that if you get that wrong you don’t deserve to go to jail.’’

The comedian, 29, said he started regularly donating when he discovered his father needed blood transfusions for a colon disease and realised the Red Cross didn’t always get the amount it needed. So far the show, needling audiences with video and statistics to great success, has caused one audience member to faint and another to get a blood nose.

At the end of the performance Chong hopes to recruit donors who, if not tempted by the altruistic desire, may be lured by the treats given after donations including muffins, sandwiches, cheese and even milkshakes. Jason Chong’sWhy The BloodyHellAren’tYa? runs until October 11 from 7pm at the Northcote Town Hall – Studio 2. Tickets $19 / $14 concession. Book at melbournefringe.com.au and to donate blood call 131 495 or visit donateblood.com.au

Original article: http://northcote-leader.whereilive.com.au/ 

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Arkaba Review

I chopped out the other acts’ reviews for volume’s sake, but if you’re interested, you can click on the link below. 

Review: Jeff Green, Justin Hamilton, Jason Chong, & Big Al 

This week is the ninth birthday for Adelaide Comedy. To celebrate the Arkaba HaHa had a huge night last night which included performances by Justin Hamilton, Big Al, Jason Chong, and headliner Jeff Green. We were treated to a glorious set of performances which were well received by a relatively young audience.

Jason Chong 

I find I’m becoming increasingly interested in the concept of family comedy. Many blockbuster films fall into this category: Mrs Doubtfire, Shrek, Austin Powers. These films are meant to appeal to both adults and children, and get their huge ticket sales from people showing up for a family night out. We have a few comedians who have a similar appeal in this country, eg Lano and Woodley, Adam Hills, and Ross Noble.

Jason Chong could easily slot into this category and benefit from the greater numbers families can afford. His humour has a boyish charm that adults find engaging, and children cack themselves. He brought back a song he performed for Adelaide Fringe two years ago involving costumed dogs to great effect. My favourite moment was when he started telling jokes using…a pimped Optimus Prime Transformer mask! Be still my geeky heart. Jason is someone who would carry over onto TV well.

– Katherine Phelps, July 8 2009

Original Article: http://katherinephelps.com/2009/07/review-jeff-green-justin-hamilton-jason-chong-big-al/ 

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MICF Roadshow Review – PerthNow / Sunday Times

Here’s a review from the WA leg of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow.  My bit is in bold.  

Roadshow a barrel of laughs

LAUGHS, laughs and more laughs. This year’s Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow doesn’t disappoint.

Hosted by much-loved Australian comic Colin Lane (of Lano and Woodley fame), the 2009 Roadshow kicked-off at His Majesty’s Theatre last night in superb style.

The charismatic Lane got the crowd in the mood, drawing an unsuspecting audience member on stage for a healthy dose of public humiliation and interrogation.

Lane proved he’s just as funny solo as he was as alter ego Lano in Aussie comedy duo Lano and Woodley.

New York native DeAnne Smith was first cab off the rank. Waxing lyrical on everything from Aussie slang to birds and abortion, Smith looked nervous and lacked the energy and exuberance of Lane.

Ending with a self-composed rap, Smith left the stage to lukewarm applause.

Established funny-man Tommy Dean was up next. The Sydney-based American has a unique knack for taking the mickey out of Aussies without offending.

His jokes about the absurdity of cricket and AFL had the audience in the palm of his hand, while his laidback persona put the crowd at ease.

The lanky comedian left the stage with the audience wanting more.

Aussie-born Jason Chong spent his time on stage poking fun at himself and his Chinese heritage.

With a guitar slung over his shoulder, the irreverent Chong immediately won the crowd over with his unapologetic in-your-face comedy.

His reworked rendition of Kasey Chambers’ Am I Not Pretty Enough, entitled Am I Not Asian Enough, had the crowd in stitches.

The laughs kept flowing as Chong donned a Transformers toy helmet and pumped out a series of impersonations.

The Roadshow left the most outrageous ‘til last.

Canadian Glenn Wool packed a comedic punch. From start to finish Wool didn’t let up. His relentless jokes were fired at the audience with conviction and precision, leaving the crowd with tears in their eyes.

The 2009 Melbourne Comedy Roadshow runs until Saturday.

– Maria Noakes, 16th June 2009 Read More

Who Do You Think You Are? review – Sunday Mail

All together now

StarStarStarStar

The players: Sean Choolburra, Simon Palomares, Jason Chong, Mujahid Ahmed

Standout: Jason Chong

In short: Old and New Australians.

Australia is a country full of migrants and this excellent comedy outing shows we are all in the same boat.

Super-suave Spaniard Simon Palomares MCs the tent show and relives his father’s “pedal to the metal” parenting skills.

African Mujahid Ahmed recounts what its like to arrive in Australia on a wing and a spear and have his mum tell him he’s the least funny child in the family.

Austral-Asian Jason Chong tells how he dodged racism until it faced him in the radio studio and how he discovered he wasn’t Asian enough for some casting agents.

And indigenous dancer-turned-standup Sean Choolburra relates what it’s like to be a stranger in your own country, yet finds lots to laugh about in white fella-dominated Oz.

– Matt Byrne, May 31st 2009 

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Show Us Your Roots review – Australian Stage Online

I was lucky enough to be invited to perform at Show Us Your Roots in Canberra – here is a review I came across.  I’ve arrogantly bolded the bit that mentions me.

Taking the piss’ Aussie humour – if you have don’t have a mullet

Quintessential Australian comedy can either be taking the piss or sh*tting all over something or someone – exactly what comprises Show Us Your Roots. The 10 stand–up acts of two-and-a-bit hours are a mix of insightful humour and gratuitous or somewhat offensive material. Overall, the show is fast-paced – and funny – depending on who or what is the butt of the joke.

Saturday 7th of Feb was a full house at the Canberra Theatre as Canberrans took leave from the heated throngs of the nearby multicultural food fest to sit back and be led into some laughs. Show Us Your Roots is a set of acts each introduced by host Mick Molloy – who has been in Aussie TV shows and most notably the late 80s D-Generation of ABC.

Swaggering along the stage, Canberra-born Molloy brought together local elements for the regular Multicultural feature event and kept the audience’s attention with improvisation and making light of the occasional stuff-up on his part or that of the performers.

Running between the themes of each is the thread of multiculturalism – most performers relating their story of their relationship of being Australian and blending with their other culture, whether it is Vietnamese, Lebanese or South African. What follows is a mix of self-effacing stereotypes such as tight-wad Jews (Dave Smiedt) and crime-baron Lebs (Sam Makhoul) – which are funny when milked for effect, but overwrought when strangled through repetition and occasional insult to the audience, as with George Smilovici.

More middle-of-the-road but with some funny glimpses into the comedian’s lives, included ‘midget’ Imaan and his ‘cripple dance’, and Lap Phan’s description of emotional bonding to rednecks.

Seasoned comedian George Smilovici hit the nail on the head by identifying what makes Aussies the way we are – apathy, aka ‘don’t give a sh*t’. However this point was rammed in too much to hang any substantial comedy to, then plastered over with random bits that did not equal the elements of comedy. Also rambled in there was his twisting the knife into ockerisms – funny to the majority of the audience (champagne socialist types), but the bogans behind me felt affronted and grunted ‘get him off’, just as they would later boof out ‘show us your tits’ to belly-dancing Rima.

Less antagonistic but humorously insightful headline drawcard Tahir – from SBS’s comedy Pizza – was in fine form, with his funny observance of in-flight happenings and aircraft captain bedroom antics.

The joking briefly distended into the toilet humour variety with Brian Chandler, but it was not so much crude as just incredulously ‘No way!’ – as if a mate was telling the story at the pub, and overall was entertaining.

The acts that seemed out of place was the belly dancing antics of Rima of Big Brother, whose talent is assured in the shimmy-shake department, but was too long to be relevant. Also tacked on was George Smilovici’s guitar solo. Both of which were like a chef showing diners that he can juggle, when all we came for was a steak and chips.

Comedy is a genre that thrives on audience reaction – the better the comedian adjusts, then the more likely people will be holding their sides and wiping their eyes from genuine laughter. The highlight act who met these criteria was Jason Chong and his Kasey Chambers rip-off song that had the audience in stitches. His earnest charisma and natural stage presence made the audience sing along and get involved.

The Axis of Awesome trio rounded off the show with a clever musical composition that showed their talent as performers who realised that their niche would be as round pegs in a square hole.

Overall, Show Us Your Roots has original jokes with some gratuitous content like a comedy DVD but with the ‘what the?’ extras put in it. If you like insightful ‘that is sooooo true’ humour, then the majority of the acts will see you smiling constantly, and rippling with a chuckle. But beware, bogans are the butt of the humour, so mullet and ugh boots would be better off at the pub.

– Adrienne Gross, 9th February 2009

Original article: http://www.australianstage.com.au/reviews/canberra/show-us-your-roots-2224.html

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