Comedian, writer & Filmmaker

Jason Chong: Stay Puft – review (Adelaide Fringe)

Be sure to rock up early for Jason Chong: Stay Puft, to hear mashups of the Ghostbusters theme song with Super Marios Bros and Kelis’ “Milkshake”. An ode to the franchise that Chong says has most shaped him (pun intended), he quips that he has seen Ghostbusters so many times that he recognized Ron Jeremy in the porn parody as an extra from the original film. Of course, he only watched it as research for the show, “At least, I watched it in five minute increments.” Chopping and mixing (choose your own pun here) his lifelong obsession with Ghostbusters into his recent desire to shed a few kilos, Chong shares with us his exploits in exercise – whether they be sweating it out at Bikram Yoga or falling asleep in hypnotherapy. They are funny to hear about, but he knows his source material well enough to make his pop-culture multimedia project the real meat and potatoes of the show. He could (and should) do a longer show entirely about the Ghostbusters saga, covering the controversy of Winston Zeddemore losing his audition to be cast as the voice of his own character in the animated series, and how the theme song so blatantly ripped off “I Want a New Drug” by Huey Lewis & The News that the matter was settled out of court.

Known as a go-to host in the Adelaide Comedy scene, “Chongy” knows not only how to warm up a room, but how to make a room feel warm. He won’t hesitate to throw himself under a heckler to save a newcomer, and can easily comb over a collective unity between Fringe hipsters and Clipsal mullets.

Stay Puft’s story arc revolves around Chongy pondering which Ghostbuster he is most like. There is a fitting tribute to recently deceased Harold Ramis’ Dr Egon Spengler. As Sigourney Weaver once says to Bill Murray’s Dr Venkman, “You don’t act like a scientist. You’re more like a game show host.” Jason Chong is the best of both camps, revealing that he shares traces with the spirits of all the Ghostbusters, as we all do. More than any other, however, he is Dan Akroyd’s character, Dr Raymond Stanz: “I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never, ever possibly destroy us. Mr. Stay Puft.”

Enthusiastic and engaging, both characters are the loveable hearts of their stories, no matter how much cholesterol those big-hearted men may have. Chongy is playful enough to try the occasionally undercooked ad-lib here and there. He’ll apologise if something new doesn’t land, but he’ll do it with a cheeky smirk that will grow on you. He may giggle at his own jokes now and then, but you can bet you will be giggling as well. These little pauses – the ums and ahs – aren’t so much Chong dropping character as much as a part of his schtick. Or rather, proof that he has been doing this long enough to need no schtick, and would rather just be himself so he can have a down-to-earth chat with you. And he would love nothing more than for you think of him as a mate telling you a funny story at the pub, except your mate is 2009’s Adelaide Comedian of the Year and still punching strong.

Who you going to call? Jason Chong!

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