May is Asian Heritage Month, and in Vancouver one of the ways it’s being celebrated is with laughs.
Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre is hosting a one-night show on Friday with an all-Asian lineup, dubbed Asian Takeover.
“It means for this one show we have Asian comedians taking over the stage — that’s all we mean, we don’t mean anything bigger like we’re taking over the world,” comedian and writer Julie Kim told Global News.
Kim, who started comedy more than a decade ago as a “dare” to herself has built the funny business into a serious trade, performing on Just for Laughs and writing for Kim’s Convenience.
Now she’s hosting the event’s second annual appearance — a show she hopes will both celebrate Asian experiences, while bringing people together.
“It’s nice to have a month, but I don’t know how significant it is or how much impact it has,” she said.
“I do hope that people come to this show, hear what we have to say, and one of the things I enjoy is when we have really diverse audiences just coming and laughing because comedy, laughter, the human connection really transcends race, and I think that’s what’s most important.”
In the decade she’s been in the industry, Kim says she’s been pleased to see comedy become a more welcoming place for diverse performers of all backgrounds, including Asian women.
The success of a growing number of Asian stars on screen and stage, she said, is making the entertainment industry more reflective of the culture it’s a part of.
While representation is important, Kim said, the joke is always first priority — though she says her own life experiences as a Korean woman growing up in Canada naturally inform her material.
“My objective is to be funny, and in so doing talking about my real life, or even being up there and wearing my face which I can’t help — in little ways it changes people’s perceptions of what an Asian woman is,” she said.
“If you’re watching somebody perform standup comedy and they’re engaging, you’re having a relationship with that person and you are probably getting to like them and empathize with them and their situation, so it probably is a really good way for people to connect and see that we’re really all similar.”
The Vogue is a “big jump up in size” compared to the venue last year’s event was hosted in, according to David Prowse with MRG group which owns the theatre.
- Air Canada says expect flight delays, cancellations as it fixes technical issue
- Bill 96: Here’s what to expect when trying to access English services in Quebec
- Inside the navy’s search for war grave robbers in the South China Sea
- EMS crews have saved 18 patients using Alberta’s overdose response app
Prowse said first and foremost the show will be a “hilariously funny event.”
But he said it’s also another opportunity to highlight performers who may face additional barriers in the entertainment industry.
“Representation is important thing so I think for us as promoters and essentially gatekeepers to make sure we’re affording opportunities for all the talented folks,” he said.
“One piece of it that’s really exciting to me is that any time we get to match a really exiting out of town act with some of our rising stars in the local artistic community, that’s always a really exciting thing for me.”
Friday’s event will feature U.S.-based headliner Robin Tran, along with Kim and local comedians Yumi Nagashima and Tin Lorica.
The show kicks off at 8 p.m. at the Vogue Theatre at 918 Granville Street.