Comedian's mixed heritage gives him the last laugh
Did you hear the one about the African-American Jewish guy who married a Chinese-Jamaican woman? Sounds like the start of a risqué joke about racial stereotypes, but for Hong Kong-based comedian Jim Brewsky, it's the stuff of real life.
Brewsky, 36, who has been working the city's stand-up circuit for a year, has made a comic virtue out of the rich mix of his personal situation, and it's just one example of the schtick that's turning Hong Kong into Asia's stand-up hub.
One of his gags illustrates this perfectly as he tells audiences: "My wife is Chinese-Jamaican … When we first met, I was, like, girl you're cute. Where you from? She said Jamaica. I was, like, what? I said I'm a black Jew. She freaked out and tried to run. But it's OK, I'm black. I caught her" - a gag aimed at a host of black - and white - stereotypes.
Brewsky, who last week took second prize in the 7th annual Hong Kong International Comedy Competition, said: "I'm a one-stop shop for racism. My jokes come from my life, my family background, just talking about who I am … and unfortunately, that's funny."
He was one of 30 taking part, and the teacher-cum-part-time-comic walked away with HK$10,000 for coming second. The winner, Malaysian medical doctor Jason Leung, pocketed HK$40,000 and a chance to perform at some of the world's most prestigious comedy clubs in the United States later this year.
Comedians from Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the US flew to Hong Kong to compete in the festival at the Take Out Comedy Club in SoHo before an audience of 600 people.
Club owner and comedian Jami Gong, who organised the festival, says it is the first full-time comedy club in Asia. It opened in February 2007 and sees local comedians perform weekly in English and Cantonese. Occasionally, professional comedians also fly in from the US and England.
Video: Hong Kong's 7th International Comedy Competition featuring Jim Brewsky