It is not often that a regular stand-up gig starts with a demonstration of Chinese hip-hop. But, then again, this isn’t a regular stand-up gig. This is Des Bishop.
The Irish born, American raised comic is in the country with his brand new show Made in China,”a tour-de-force of informative comedy based around a year-long stint in China that Bishop undertook whilst filming a show for Irish television.
The show integrates clips from his adventures, many of which are truly laugh-out-loud hilarious, alongside clever observations about the Chinese language and culture. While these could easily have slipped into the unnecessarily offensive, it is clear from the onset that Bishop truly understands, respects and loves this culture – and thus, very little from the show could be construed as being offensive.
The content is clever, relatable and works very well with the predominantly Western audience. I found myself both laughing and pondering, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Bishop occasionally engaged directly with a few Mandarin speakers in the audience meaning exposition was necessary for us to understand a concept or a joke he had made, but it did demonstrate his proficiency of the language, (he’ll be performing this show in Mandarin on Sat 2 May, 5pm at the Herald Theatre).
There are only a couple of minor flaws in what was otherwise a very slick and truly funny evening. As Bishop’s performance is clearly well-rehearsed, there were occasional slip-ups with what seemed like ‘recalling’ his material. This did not impede on the quality, although it made the gig feel less personal at times.
Des Bishop’s Made in China is a funny, truthful and an engaging hour of comedy, made particularly enjoyable by the interactive visual elements on screen. If you are after a thoughtful unique show, you’ve got it here!
Des Bishop Made in China is on in Auckland at the Herald Theatre until Sat 2 May, 7pm and in Wellington at San Fran Mon 4 – Sat 9 May, 7pm.
Reviewed by Stewart Lund