Comedy Club Cambodia’s latest showcase is happening Tuesday, Sept. 25th at Pontoon. This time around the show features Rishi Bhudrani, a rising star from Singapore, and Ro Campbell, a veteran comic originally from Australia but living in the U.K. for the past six years.
My first experience with Comedy Club Cambodia was just last month, when Allyson Smith (Canada) and Imran Yusuf (U.K.) performed. I was invited to attend by a friend and, not knowing anything about it, I assumed it was going to be some kind of awful open mic night with amateurs taking their earliest, most awkward, and excruciating steps into the spotlight, replete with buckets of flop sweat pouring off their foreheads and pooling at their feet.
I was pleasantly surprised.
It wasn’t amateur, awkward or painful at all. It was funny. And fun. A lot of fun. More fun than you should be entitled to for a mere $8 cover. I know cover charges for anything are generally an alien concept here in Cambodia, but for two comedians coming into the country from abroad just to do a set for the likes of us? A bargain.
What modern day Saints are living amongst us in Phnom Penh, who would arrange such a wonderful series of comedy shows for us? Why, none other than Dan Riley, a resident here since 2004, and Andre Chalson, a Singaporean who has been coming to Cambodia for years due to his “love of dirt biking and cheap dental hygiene.”
Andre ran a bar back in Singapore that did a comedy night, hosted by comedian and “In Living Color” writer Terry “T.J.” Johnson, and that’s how he met Johnathon Atherton, the founder of Comedy Club Asia.
Dan has always been a huge comedy fan, going back to a childhood spent listening to Tom Lehrer’s records with songs about poisoning pigeons.
Andre and Dan run Comedy Club Cambodia as a part of Comedy Club Asia, which has branches all over the region. Singapore has become something of a comedy hub with homegrown talent and shows every week, including the “Kings and Queens of Comedy in Asia” showcase, in its third year this November.
I try to frequently remind you, the K440 readers, that I’m not a journalist nor do I aspire to be one or pretend to be one. So I’ll forthrightly abandon all pretenses of impartiality here: I don’t know Dan and Andre very well personally, but I really do believe that they, in partnership with Eddie Newman at Pontoon., are doing a good thing by bringing entertainment options to Phnom Penh that we don’t normally see here. That doesn’t mean they should be immune to criticism, but I do encourage anyone who thinks this sounds like a good time to come out for it and see it for themselves. The fact of the matter is: Comedy Club Asia needs more attendees and more sponsors in order to continue bringing in high quality international talent.
In Dan’s words:
“We need sponsorship, pure and simple. We can always take constructive criticism on our show, but it wont mean much unless we can safely fund the thing each month. Tickets and bar sales have never paid for all of the flights, fees and extras that we have to shell out for each gig.
Anyone wanting to help or make suggestions can contact us via our website, www.thecomedyclubcambodia.com, or on our facebook fanpage, www.facebook.com/comedyclubcambodia. We’re not looking for much each show and there’s no limit on number of sponsors or amount they wish to contribute. It all helps.”
“At the end of the day, we just want to have a hilarious night that keeps people chucking for the rest of the week/month. And its good to show the region that Phnom Penh has a scene here too and we like a good laugh.”
At last month’s show, I particularly enjoyed Imran Yusuf’s set. He was orginal in his delivery, quick witted, and I even got to do some audience banter with him by answering his questions (my friend Scotty and I had moved to the front row the moment it was announced that the front row would be getting some free drinks from the sponsors.)
Imran has a deal with BBC3 these days and is very busy as he continues down the road to fame and fortune back in the U.K., but I asked him a few questions via email, including what his thoughts are on Ro Campbell and Rishi Bhudrani:
Imran: “Yes, I know Ro Campbell as he now lives in the UK, a lovely man and a great, hard working comic. I also met Rishi Budhrani during our time in Singapore, he’s an upcoming comic and a lovely man too. He was also kind enough to have his Dad, who is a tailor, make me a brand new suit. It’s a fantastic shiny blue one which I will be wearing on my UK tour which starts this week.”
Take it from Imran, because he’s f–ing hilarious.
If you’d like to see these two lovely men for yourself and perhaps get an estimate on a suit from Rishi, head down to Pontoon. The doors are at 7pm with a showtime of 8:30pm. Phnom Penh Movie Mogul, Lord Penh, will be MC’ing the event for his comedy debut.
By popular demand (well, my demand I guess): The Engrish Teecha Beer Special! Anchor Cans – 3 for $5! Drink up!