The Guest Room

A Hong Kong blog that does a lot more than blog

QQQQQ: Meet the Comedian!

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Hi.  I always suck at writing these for myself.  When people want to interview me, why do I have to do all the work?  I’m Michael Dorsher, and I’m making you laugh.

 

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Hi Michael.  Thanks for joining us at QQQQQ Headquarters!  How long have you been a comedian and how did you get started?

Hi Jeff.  First, great to meet you.  From your emails, I expected you to be much wider, but now that I meet you here in person I can see that you are indeed – as you promised – much more oblong.

In the definition of a comedian as “an entertainer whose act is designed to make an audience laugh,” I would say 7 years.  With the definition as “an amusing or entertaining person,” I’d refer back to my birth certificate.

When babies are born, they want to make sure all the parts are in good working order.  When I was born, they wouldn’t let me out of the hospital until they’d observed a urinal movement, so to speak.  (That’s ‘peeing’ for all you hipsters out there.)  Anywho, they went to check my diaper to see if I had peed, and low and behold, I had not.  But as the diaper came off, I peed on the nurse.  How’s that for natural born comedic timing?

My public speaking career began at the age of three.  My mom was having some sort of house party and so my dad took me out for a walk by the lake.  When we came back, I announced that the lake was “full of duck shit.  Mom – you have to watch out for the duck shit.  We stepped in lots of duck shit.”

When I finally took the stage as an entertainer, it was like many other comedians first times:  I went to a free workshop (don’t pay for these, unless the payment is covering food or materials, or you’re paying me:  then it’s ok) and they offered a chance at the end of the session to let anyone come up on stage and try it.  I was terrified, but forced myself to give it a try.

I’d always thought it would be fun, listened to standup albums and comedians on TV before, but never really had the exposure of comedy clubs nearby until I moved to Hong Kong, oddly enough.  Performed a lot on that first stage in TakeOut Comedy until the mic stand, amp system, floor paint and welcome had all been worn out.  Then I started producing gigs in Hong Kong and the surrounding cities of Macau and South China around 2012.

So far have managed to perform in Hong Kong, China, Macau, Sinagpore, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Canada, United States, Vietnam & the Philippines.

Have you had any interesting or crazy audience interactions?

The worst show I ever did was probabaly for a bachelorette party.  A buddy recently told me about a club in the UK which requires bachelorette parties to deposit 100 GBP per head for entrance, because their typically horrible crowds for comedy & ruin the show for everyone else in the club.  If they behave, they get the deposit back.
I was at one where they were the only audience at the club.  14 of them.  I was ‘lucky’ enough to be the first one on stage – after a very cold open.  Oh, may I remind you that they rented out the comedy venue so they could have a stripper come.  The show was thrown in by the owner for free with the rental.  So I get on and thought it would be great to open strong & strip, which did get them excited & proved a strong opener.  When that ended and I then went into jokes, they were a dead wall for the remainder of the 10 minutes.  No one wanted to talk about the bride, no one wanted to offer up any information, no one wanted to sit and watch a comedy show.  The other comics all had a tough time as well, but I started strong and then just ate it.
The moral of the story:  most of comedy is fun, but the tough gigs are the ones where we really work for a living.  Just make sure you’re getting paid for those in advance.
Does that cover it?  I want to save all the sexual escapades for my tell-all book, publishing date tbd.

If someone, “George Bushed” you by throwing a shoe on stage, how would you handle it?

If the shoe was really smelly, deteriorating, or just plain noxious, I’d probably try my best not to handle it at all.  I would likely call in a hazmat team, which would be easier in the United States where those teams exist.

If it was just like it happened to Bush, then I’d probably wonder how I ended up in Iraq to begin with.  I assume it was by plane.

If it just happened at a club, it would likely depend on the severity of the throw & hit, which to some extent depends on what kind of shoe is thrown & the knowledge and skill of the thrower.  If I was hurling shoes at people, I’d probably flick heels at them.  I’m an ultimate frisbee player, so I feel that the flick of the wrist provides a more powerful transfer of energy than trying to use the arm to power the hurl.  In addition, I would know that it wasn’t my shoe that I was throwing.  I don’t wear heels.

It also has a natural tendency towards a unidirectional spin & velocity.  You try to throw an athletic shoe and all of a sudden you must take into account both forward momentum as well as lateral spin.  Then I’d have to check my grip more specifically, as with throwing a football.  Then maybe I hit a Ray Finkle moment and realise I threw it with the laces in rather than laces out, and all of a sudden people are looking at me like I lost the big game.

Please, people.  Bring shoes to throw at me at my future gigs & lets see how this one plays out with me as the target.  This may seem like a stupid thing to say, but not only does it sell tickets – but I could likely get a sweet endorsement deal with a shoe chain by adding a discount coupon for all attendees.  I’d wear your logo and make you look like the hero who can feed the shoeless.  I’d make fun of your company, too; that’s both for good measure because the audience expects a comedian to take a dig at the sponsors — and for freedom of expression, you heartless corporate thugs.  You rich-rich heartless thugs.

What are your thoughts on the Hong Kong comedy scene?

I’m really amazed at how it’s grown.  I get unsolicited interview invites to answer stupid questions at least once a year – sometimes more so.  (See what I did there?  The readers are itching for me to take a shot at whatever this blog of something or other is.  There you got two in one response.  Sponsorship, please!  I enjoy living indoors & food consumption.)

Stuff that I’m positive on:  The audiences & comedians are all growing together, and it’s taking off nicely.

Stuff I’m negative on:  Can’t we all just get along?

Stuff I’m hopefully for:  All scenes have politics & bullshit, some more / some less than others.  Hong Kong has it’s share, but I think what little I’ve contributed through Comedy HK has helped and is continuing to help break down the bullshit pile, or at least shovel it more evenly across the fields to allow it to aide the seeds in flourishing rather than drowning them in a sunlightless mountain of dung.

Oh, and keep an eye on my twitter or Facebook profiles for the upcoming launch of a new comedy podcast out of the heart of asia.  It’s gonna be awesome, once I get off my ass and release the first episode.

Where can we see you perform? Are there any comedy events coming up that we should know about?

I’m always hitting the stages in Hong Kong.  Bar 109 in Wan Chai every Monday & Hong Kong Brew House ever Wednesday night.  My creation has turned into a beautiful joke breathing monster, and sometimes I don’t arrive early enough to get a spot on the lineup.  People encourage me to bump other acts or squeeze myself in because “I can” (which is true), but that’s what happened in George Orwell’s farmhouse when the pigs started walking on two legs.  That sort of power abuse may be small, but it needs to be kept in check.  Check us out every month at Backstage Live restaurant as well.  Our next gig there is Saturday July 19th at 7:30pm

Keep an eye out for our next headlining act with Graham Elwood coming in from Los Angeles for the last week of August.

 

Thanks a lot for the interview Michael!  I for one will definitely be seeking out one of your shows in the near future.  I’ll be the guy at the back of the room waving his shoe.

You can find Michael Dorsher online on Twitter @Dorsher or at http://comedy.HK

 

Have a good one, people!

Mr.J

3 comments on “QQQQQ: Meet the Comedian!

  1. Ron
    July 12, 2014

    Michael is doing a great job developing a fantastic comedy scene in Hong Kong
    Had a ball performing at 2 of the venues last April.
    And he is generally a nice guy….if this doesn’t get me gigs in the future I am out of ideas
    Ron Hailes. Gold Coast Australia

  2. theguestroom
    July 12, 2014

    Hey Ron, those kind words should get you to first base at the very least!
    Hope to see you back in Hong Kong again soon!
    Mr.J

  3. amybethhurst
    August 13, 2014

    You don’t suck at all! That was a great read. Thank you. Amybeth Hurst, Portland, ME

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