The Fish are returning to the Heart of the City Festival for first time since 2009 for a free night of comedy on Friday Oct. 25 at the Gallery Gachet. By coincidence, the festival, which is an annual showcase for the art and diversity of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside community, is also celebrating its tenth anniversary. (Clearly 2003 was very good year).
Here are the details:
BELLY LAUGHS, A NIGHT OF COMEDY
Friday October 25, 7pm–9pm
Gallery Gachet, 88 E. Cordova
The Heart of the City Festival is tickled silly to present an evening of stand up and sketch comedy that celebrates the resilience and diversity of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The first half of the evening features comics from Stand Up for Mental Health with guest host Randy Goodchild and our local favourite funny guy Paul Decarie. What’s so funny about mental health? Come and find out!
The second half of the evening we are thrilled to welcome back Vancouver’s longest-running Asian-Canadian sketch comedy collective, Assaulted Fish (aka Diana Bang, Marlene Dong, Kuan Foo and Nelson Wong). With edgy writing and energetic performances, everything from birth to reincarnation is fair game for the comedy troupe. Assaulted Fish is delighted to celebrate its 10th anniversary with the 10th Annual Heart of the City Festival.
Our Fringe run is now officially over and what a way to end it with the final shows being completely sold out!
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the wonderful people who helped us, beginning with the Vancouver Fringe Festival staff and 600 volunteers who make the festival run if not like exactly like clockwork than like a reasonably priced and waterproof digital watch. We would also like to thank the fabulous Fringe Artists that we got to meet or see perform. Truly the Fringe is one of the few opportunities to celebrate independent theatre in Vancouver and we have been blessed to perform here three times so far. Thank you to Studio 16 for being such gracious hosts; we’d love to play here again someday and in the meantime maybe check out the restaurant.
We would like to thank the fabulous Assaulted Fish team; thank you to our unflappable and resourceful Stage Manager Ann Chow and our cheerful and conscientious technician Katja Schleuter who made sure our show was running smoothly every single night, thereby reducing our stress level exponentially. Thank you too to our incredibly talented director Laura McLean who finally had the opportunity to strut her stuff with this show earning rightful mention in the Vancouver Province review. Big thanks to Linda Ong Chan, our intrepid publicist who stood in the lobby and welcomed fans and sold t-shirts every night and also pulled off the astonishing coup of getting us profiled in the Globe and Mail. We’d also like to thank our official sponsors, Raz Chan Fitness and Schema Magazine.
Finally, a heartfelt thanks to you our fans both old and new who came to see the show, including some who made the trip from another country (the US is still officially another country, as far as we know). You are the wings that make these stupid angels fly, make the astronauts orbit weightless and make us feel sexy on a budget (and several other equally forced and mixed metaphors). Thank you for helping us celebrate our 10th anniversary in style. Hope to see you all really soon! Be good!
Diana, Marlene, Kuan and Chris
P.S., does anyone want a watermelon (slightly rolled)?
As part of Assaulted Fish’s 10-year anniversary, we asked some of our closest friends, fans and families for their memories of the past decade. Today we present our conversation with Rob Ho.
Rob is currently a doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. His dissertation research compares the public university experiences of second-generation Asian Canadian and Asian American students in Vancouver and Los Angeles. He previously taught in the Asia-Canada Program at SFU and in sociology at Douglas College. He teaches in the Asia-Canada Program at SFU. Raised in Kamloops, Rob received his BA from Carleton University and MA from the University of Toronto.
Rob didn’t submit a head shot but this is an image that came up when we Googled his name.
How does Assaulted Fish push comedic boundaries beyond stereotypical humour?
Their brand of humour transcends the trap of simple stereotypes that comedians can easily fall into that can actually perpetuate the existence of Asian cultural stereotypes. For instance, constantly joking that Asian Canadians are cheap without finding ways to deconstruct why cheapness is a stereotype can essentially reinforce the belief that Asians are indeed extremely frugal. The Fishies are able to find creative yet humourous ways to make their audiences think about issues that effect Asians in Canada without always beating you over the head about racism and Asian stereotypes.
You’ve lived and worked in the US and Canada. What differences are there between Asian-American and Asian-Canadian humour?
This is a difficult question to answer.
Having lived in Los Angeles and seen several West Coast Asian American groups perform, it seems quite clear that US comedy troupes are very politicized and will really confront current issues affecting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders head on. They can be much more brash and outspoken about the ways US Asians are demonized. For instance, the “Tiger Mom” and Alexandra Wallace’s ‘Asians in the Library’ YouTube video are two issues that the American groups produced very quick and direct humourous responses to. I wouldn’t claim that the Fishies represent all types of Asian Canadian humour, but compared to the American groups, the Fishies often have less direct and more nuanced retorts to these sorts of events and tend not refer to specific incidents.
What surprises you the most about Assaulted Fish?
I really appreciate the Fishies’ ability to not constantly need to joke about racial or ethnic issues to be funny. They may be an Asian Canadian comedy troupe, but their racial makeup doesn’t define their comedy and what they find funny about life and the social interactions that occur in it. The diversity of personalities and the ways in which Diana, Nelson, Marlene, and Kuan see the world differently – including their racialized experiences – leads to a rich expression of humour that I have yet to see from any other Asian Canadian comedy troupe.
Congrats Assaulted Fish on ten great years! I’m happy to have witnessed your longevity and to be the occasional butt of your jokes. May the next several years bring audiences continued laughter and thought-provoking humour!
(Interview by Linda Ong)
Today we look at changing hairlines, waistlines and production values in our publicity photos over the last 10 years.
And then Diana burped and the brief moment of cool was lost forever. (Photo by Dennis Chui)
Nelson has big guns. The rest of us duck for cover. (Photos by Dale Johnson – Design by Kuan Foo)
This family portrait is brought to you by Sears (Photo by Dan Jackson)
Klaatu Barada Nikto (Photo by Dan Jackson)
Digging for gold. (Photo by Dan Jackson – Design by Kuan Foo)
Why so serious? (Photo by Dan Jackson)
“Always look on the bright side of life” – Monty Python (Photo and art by Dan Jackson)