Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

1st Time in Hong Kong

Oh man, haven’t blogged in awhile. Been busy and lazy. Really quick though, made a short montage video awhile back from my trip in Hong Kong. I also went to Shanghai but I did not feel like making a video for that. Sad to say, I didn’t have as good of a time in Shanghai as I did in Hong Kong. Not sure why, maybe the language barrier. All I can say is if you’re going to go to Shanghai, you’d better bring a Mandarin-speaking and Chinese-reading friend. Hardly anyone was able to speak English with me and definitely no one was able to speak Cantonese, which is what I speak. Of course in Hong Kong, I had no problems. Here’s some of my Hong Kong experience.

And really quick though, my comedy troupe is having its next show in 2 weeks! Omg! I’m so nervous and excited at the same time. I ended up writing a lot of the material. Here is our flyer. Can’t wait! http://badfruit.bpt.me

GCG_badfruit_FINAL

No One Can Compete with Stephen Chow

For the past five weeks, I have been watching Stephen Chow’s movies/TV shows every week, hence, my lack in blog posts. Who is Stephen Chow? Only the best Chinese comedian/actor/director in Asia in my humble opinion. I still remember the very first time I learned how to use the internet back in 1995. One of the first things I remember looking up was Stephen Chow, which brought me to his IMDB page. I didn’t know about web addresses yet, only the search engine which at the time, was Yahoo as the home page at my college. I recall emailing my Chinese friends some instructions on how to get to his IMDB page and telling them which movies they should check out. What a great way to learn how to use the internet!

While watching his films, I would notice a lot of similarities such as scenes that involve eating noodles. Then I read an article that gave a biography of Stephen’s that said that his mother used to make him a bowl of noodles everyday when he came home from school. I also noticed that a lot of the stories he’s done are about the lower class of people and I read that he grew up in a single parent household after his father left when he was 7 years old and his mother held two jobs to raise their family of 4 as he had 2 older sisters. So it’s really nice to see him putting little elements of his childhood into the movies he does.

I really love this guy. The more I read about him, the more I appreciate his work as an actor, a writer, and a director; especially as a director. I find that if you read interviews where they have asked him about his history, you’ll find quite a genuine soul who believes that the “true heroes are the workers.” So in a lot of the movies he’s done, you will find that hero to be someone you wouldn’t normally envision as a hero. The hero in his films are usually the underdogs of society; the poor, the seemingly weak, the ones who are not universally considered attractive, desirable or smart. The heroes in his films are the ordinary people like you and me. In addition, he created a whole new genre of films called “Mo Lei Tau” which basically means “nonsense.” His movies came out at a time when the young people of Hong Kong had no voice and he gave them a voice to speak with. They became inspired by him and everyone fell in love with his films. At one point, Hong Kong’s top five movies that were out in the theaters all had Stephen Chow in them! Who can do that?!! Astonishing.

Anyway, I am excited to watch his new movie, “The Mermaid” come out this year. It is being released in Asia on the first day o Lunar New Year, 2/8/16. I was thiiiiiiiisss close to quitting my job and cashing out my vacation pay/sick pay and flying off to Hong Kong just to watch the movie in case it doesn’t come here on the same day. I eventually came to my senses and realized that a movie ticket costing over $1000 is never worth it…unless Stephen Chow is sitting there right beside you.

My favorite movie of his is “All’s Well, Ends Well” but it’s not online unfortunately except for the trailer.  However, if anyone is going to check out a Stephen Chow movie for the 1st time, I would start with “All For The Winner” which was a comedic parody movie of a Chinese drama movie called “God Of Gamblers.” Only problem is, Stephen has such an outstanding command of Cantonese that his improv involves a lot of Cantonese wordplay. So while his comedy is funny, there is actually another level of comedy that most of us can’t comprehend unless we were familiar with Cantonese! For example, at around 1:25 of All For The Winner below, the english subtitle says he is calling the vending machine, “Mr. Machine.” In Cantonese, the phonetic words he is using is gei lou. In Cantonese, the word “gei” (机) also sounds like the word “gei” (基) which when put together with lou (佬) is the words they use to call someone gay. It’s actually a rather vulgar term and used only in Cantonese. However, reading the English subtitles, that joke would have gone right past you. Anutha level, bruh. Anutha level.

If you’re interested, here are some comedic scenes Stephen has done in the past. Enjoy.

King Of Comedy (1999)

Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Magnificent Scoundrels (1991)

Compilation –
All For The Winner (1990)
God Of Cookery (1996)
Magnificent Scoundrels (1991)

Weekend Reflection

Had a blast this weekend. Closed our show, “The Ladies & The Tramps” with a great crowd! I can’t wait to have our post mortem. Producing this show was both stressful and exciting at the same time. I still remember back in November, pitching to my co-producer the type of unfiltered show I wanted to have. I thought, what if we lived in a world where you didn’t have to be polite? Do you always have to tell your friends that their baby is cute even when they’re not? What would happen if people were no longer polite and just downright honest? It would have required a team of writers to really focus and imagine this world and what kinds of experiences would we go through…but, we really didn’t have that kind of time. We’re not full time writers who can knock out A+ sketches every hour. We all work regular jobs and only do this at night. It’s kind of like having two jobs and yet, still having to take care of your personal life at home.

I so wish I could switch my life upside down. I would love to do sketch comedy full time and get paid and do my regular job whenever I feel like working. I put an awful lot of work into my hobbies but how I can get paid for it is another story. It’s all about the hustle, I guess. I would love to do Granny Cart Gangstas full time. Take us on the road and tour the show. This year’s show was a little different from our previous shows. First of all, it is our first multiple run show. We normally do one night stands so having a 6 night show was a real commitment and we had to be picky about who will participate. My favorite part about producing this show was the laughter. I loved hearing people laugh Then we knew our jokes landed. It was no longer just funny to us, it was funny to other people. Not that we needed validation for our material but we enjoyed making people laugh and it showed with our content.

My favorite pieces had to be the ones with the Will Friedle related arc. It was so fun to do and I loved seeing people say it was their favorite on the surveys we handed out. I didn’t plan it out any particular way, it just kind of landed that way and I’m ever so glad it did. Other pieces I enjoyed were “Feminist Date” which was about a couple who were getting hot & heavy while spewing out all the realities of women’s inequalities in life. Someone wrote that we “raised awareness” which we did not realize we did. Other comments that made me smile included “Hilarious” “Hella funny” and “Was impressed with acting/skits.” Of course we did get comments that told us people were offended by some of our humor but we dove into this project knowing full well what we were getting into. We knew some people would be offended or uncomfortable which is why I told people in my Bindlestiff interview not to come if they were the type to be easily offended.

In the end, I’m proud of that show. I’m proud of all the blood, sweat, tears and money that we put into it. I’m proud of all the players that said, “Fuck it!” and went balls out on all the parts they played, offensive or not. I’m proud of how we put everything together ahead of time. I’m proud of how all the players stepped up and took their places in the face of exhaustion and malady. It’s not easy to put on a show for us seeing as rehearsal time has always been our weakness. Finding time for our separate lives to converge and rehearse even for an hour is quite challenging but we somehow make it through.

The day after our last show, I got to experience seeing my short film, “Accident” on the big screen at the I Hella Love Shorts Film Festival. If I could rewind and rewatch that film, I would have not worried so much about how the sound might be or how the color might look or whether or not the moments that intended a reaction were accurate. I can’t help it, it’s my baby. To be honest, as this was the first film festival to accept my short after countless rejections, I waited for this festival to send me an email to tell me they made a mistake, that I really didn’t get in. I’m guessing this is probably the only festival I’ll get into but it was truly an irreplaceable experience to see your own short film on a big screen. I’m so glad I was able to go. Anyway, that was my weekend and it was great. Can’t wait to work on my next project, There’s the Moon And Then There’s You.

Show In Progress

Tonight is the last night of the first week of our show, “The Ladies & The Tramps.” I am extremely proud of everyone for bringing it together the way it did. We had Q2Q and full runs throughs from Sunday – Wednesday that were pretty rough. We were told one of the pieces we were doing was on life support on Monday but got significantly better by Wednesday. Whew! On Wednesday night, we were still iffy and jittery and the pieces were not coming together like we had hoped. Not everyone was there and we still had to pummel through it and I felt like we had to do the show with our fingers crossed, which is exactly what we did. With each show, each piece of feedback we received from our peers, we made improvements. By the time Thursday night came around, we were on fire. I am not sure if it was the Moscato I was downing or first night excitement but everything went from a 7 to a 10 by opening night! Audiences were complimenting us on our mixture of comedy and I’m really happy it all turned out. I have to admit, every night this week, my solo set has been different but I think I’ve finally found the set I want to commit to and I’m excited to do it. Hope I don’t fuck up.

Having this sketch comedy troupe, Granny Cart Gangstas, is a dream come true. Something I’ve always wanted and I couldn’t be happier. My favorite part of the show is that I get to share my Will Friedle affection with the audience. It’s a bit ridiculous but I love it and so did the audience. Four more shows!

Here is an interview I did with Bindlestiff Studio.

This is a photo of me and Lauren patiently waiting backstage to perform my sketch, Plan B, dedicated to Will Friedle.

Ladies_Tramps1
Anyway, I need to take a shower and get ready but here is an unlisted link to a video shoot we did that is a part of the show. It’s a rough cut but nonetheless:

No Happy Endings

Just had our 2nd Granny Cart Gangstas show, No Happy Endings, last night! We were blessed with an audience of 84 people in a theater that seats about 50, which is pretty surprising considering we were competing with PINK Saturday, birthday parties, and traffic. We also decided to screen “Accident” to test the audience reaction in preparation for submission to film festivals! In addition, a couple of us got the chance to be interviewed by SF Bay Guardian for our show. Check out the interview! We were also one of their Saturday’s pick! Amazing and flattering. Keep on the look out for our short film at film festivals in a town near you as I will be submitting it everywhere!

Our audience!
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Lessons From Sketchy People

Last night, Granny Cart Gangstas(GCG) did a show, “Sketchy People,” together with another comedy troupe, Taste Better Wit. Initially, we were supposed to work together on something collaboratively but time did not allow that. Our first GCG rehearsal was only two weeks before showtime and we only rehearsed about twice a week. It also didn’t help that our rehearsal locations were so far and traveling took up about the same amount of rehearsal time if not more. So here are three lessons I’ve learned from this show.

1. Learn to improv
During the time crunch, there were many times where we had to make do, sometimes make stuff up on the spot. One of our troupe members was only able to make one rehearsal, the last full rehearsal before our show date. Since she wasn’t there at the previous rehearsals, a lot of us ended up in multiple roles and we had quick changes in between sketches. Our solution was to have her entertain the audience during transitions long enough to allow us to change our outfits. We needed her to do a 2 minute improv piece and she had 2 days to come up with something. After that rehearsal, doing the line up, and adding a piece last minute on day of show, there were more quick changes than we anticipated so she had to come up with 4 transition pieces which she did while we are brainstormed together. Making fun of the internal aspects of improv such as Contact Improv, playing Props and Interpretive Dancing seemed to be the way to go and she got plenty of laughs! Mission accomplished.

2. Just Go With It
More than once, I’ve been in brainstorm sessions where I am the “logical” one in the group and I’m always playing devil’s advocate. I asked questions like “How are you going to get permission?” or “It’s safer to do that in a soundstage, not in the actual woods.” or “This is impossible, we don’t have an elevator to film in!” These statements come in contrast with opposing statements such as “Let’s all go film it at Bally’s Gym!” or “Let’s film car scenes while we go camping!” or “Let’s do a parody video of the Solange/Jay-Z fight tonight!” I’ve come to the conclusion that while I am always preaching that I can do anything, I, in fact, tell others what they cannot do. In their words, I “bring them back to reality.”

Being an aspiring comedian is a bit of an oxymoron. If you’re making the effort to make people laugh, you’re a comedian, whether you label it or not. Other examples of unintentional comedians would be the “Class Clown” of your grade in high school. This person makes you laugh and you called him/her “You’re such a comedian.” Oftentimes, I find that comedy comes from real life but my troupe members sometimes find their comedy in fantasy and who am I to tell them not to live in a fantasy world if it helps hone their craft? I don’t mean to be a killjoy, just asking the right questions that need to be asked, I thought. However, I often wonder what would happen if those logical questions never get asked? What would the end product result in? Just go with it and find out.

3. Chill out, it’s comedy – missed cues
People who go to comedy shows are there to have a good time through laughter and so should the actors! This show didn’t get to really have a cue to cue session until the day of so naturally, some cues were amiss. And when a cue is missed, nothing you can do really, just hope that the tech person realizes their mistake. So while I could get upset and crazy over what happened, there was really nothing you could do. We are all human. Plus, it’s live theater. Shit happens. Thankfully, the audience was made up of all our forgiving friends who have been onstage as well, for the most part, and understand what it’s like to have a cue amiss. I didn’t get upset at the tech crew, just brushed it off my shoulder and I never dwelled on it surprisingly. i figured, what’s the point of being bitter about something you cannot change? We can only learn from it. Next time, have more cue to cue sessions.

Granny Cart Gangstas

Curtain Call

“Consequences”

I’m not sure if I ever mentioned this but my friends and I started an all-female comedy troupe back in 2011. Granted, we didn’t do anything until 2012 but the idea for the troupe originally began in 2011. Our name is Granny Cart Gangstas. Currently, we are on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram and Tumblr. We just finished hosting a show on March 8, 2014 in honor of International Women’s Day. It was called “Bad Ass B!tches” and was held at Bindlestiff Studio.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun it is when we get together and create. We all have a similar sense of humor so it’s easy for our minds to connect and come up with ideas for sketches, films, music, etc. Of course we also have our differences and sometimes, our ideas will clash but that’s where we collectively make decisions that we all eventually agree on.

Our latest video is a 90s music video parody inspired by Xscape’s “Understanding” video with original lyrics written by Andrea Almario. You can check it out here.

My favorite part of working on this video was how we all had these ridiculous ideas and the filmmakers who helped us film the video (Revelcade Entertainment, Project W Production, Torrid Productions & I Don’t Care Productions) trusted our decisions no matter what they were. We are planning on doing another show sometime this year so look out for information on our Facebook page!

Rider Strong in SF

I got the chance to see a show last night called “The Thrilling Adventure Hour” and Rider Strong was a part of it! The show is presented in an old-time radio show where people are voicing different characters and reading off of a script. It reminds me of when you see voice actors do a recording for a cartoon, except in this case, there is no cartoon attached to the program. I confess, I only went to see Rider Strong. The rest were just a bonus. Other people who were also a part of the program included Paget Brewster from Criminal Minds, Keegan-Michael Key from Key & Peele, and Tom Hanks’ son, Colin Hanks.

I have to say, I’ve never seen anything like it. It was very entertaining and I loved the nonverbal interactions between the actors when there weren’t any lines to be said. I could really see the difference in what makes an actor good or bad. It’s the choices they make on how they interpret the script. I absolutely enjoyed it. My only gripe about it was that there wasn’t enough Rider in it. He came out a couple of times and I was hoping he would come out again after that but he never did until curtain call.

I wasn’t disappointed in the show though, had a great time. I just wished he had been able to participate more. There were 2 shows, one at 7 PM & one at 9:30 PM. I went to the one at 7 PM and made dinner plans with some friends after that. I had thought about going back after dinner to see if I could catch Rider leaving but I thought, “What for?” I’ve already met him twice and taken pictures with him twice. The 2nd time I saw him, I didn’t even ask to take photos, just hugged him and had him autograph a short story he wrote for a college literary book. Plus, I didn’t want him to think of me as a stalker. That is the last thing I would want. There were already those aggressive autograph collectors who get signatures on pictures & sell them online. Most of them aren’t even really fans.

Anyway, here is a photo that my friend took at curtain call. It’s blurry but you can tell which one Rider is, I’m sure. Hint: scruff

ThrillingAdventureHour

Birth of a Troupe

Six years ago, my friend Aureen and I talked about how great it would be to start our own comedy troupe. I had mentioned to her about how much I loved sketch comedy and Kids in the Hall. She completely understood and shared my views. We discussed pulling together some of our friends and creating this group someday and we could have our own shows and tour. Ah, what a fantasy that was.

Fast forward 5 years, our networks grew bigger, our resources got richer, and our creativity became stronger. Due to our curiosity of all things creative, we began dipping our hands in film making and fell in love. In 2011, we approached 3 of our friends to help us build a troupe and make comedic videos. We called ourselves “Granny Cart Gangstas.” Unfortunately, the 5 of us became so busy that we allowed our ideas to remain on paper, undeveloped and never fully realized. By May of 2012, Aureen & I had a moment to talk during a film shoot. We were discussing with another friend, Roczane, about wanting to have an all female comedy troupe. And thus began a snowball of activity into giving the troupe a life. Aureen & I began pulling together all the ingredients we needed to have a successful troupe to do our film making and eventually culminate into doing live shows in theaters. A month later, we had our troupe. Six months later, we completed our first project, a music video parody of Beyonce’s “Run the World.”

Enjoy!

Girl Meets World: Hmm…Okay.

Disney is making a sequel to Boy Meets World called Girl Meets World. It was announced last weekend. After hearing the news, I couldn’t decided. I’ve been wavering back and forth over this topic this whole week. I don’t know why. It’s not even that important. I’ve been reading & watching articles, tweets, comments, rants, blogs, vlogs, video responses, and episodes of Boy Meets World that ended up making me cry like a baby. I was looking for something to influence my opinion and help me get out of this 50/50 zone that I was so conflicted over for some unknown reason. So finally, after being overwhelmed with all the positive vs. negative words I’ve seen, read or heard, I’ve come to a conclusion and that conclusion is this: okay.

It will be okay. It will be okay that Disney wants to do a sequel to Boy Meets World because there can be nothing but good that will come out of it for Boy Meets World. First of all, BMW is done, finished, in the past, a memory, a retro vintage television show that taught me life lessons and made Fridays my favorite day to this day. As a loyal viewer of Boy Meets World, I am honored that one of my favorite shows was remembered and chosen to get a sequel. A lot of the nay-sayers have voiced their rants that “Girl Meets World” will ruin their childhood and drag Boy Meets World through the ground. They pretty much say that Boy Meets World cannot be touched because it is already imperfectly perfect and does not need to be changed. And then, there are those who are overcome with excitement and & anticipation, like being given a big wrapped present and you have all these expectations and hopes for what could be inside.

Some opinions…
Shirts Are Overrated
Black Nerd Rant
Game Over Greggy
Rotten Tomatoes Thread
Yahoo! TV

Sigh…well, I have to admit, I was leaning more towards the “Don’t do it, Disney!” side but I took a step back and thought about all the ways I could see this so okay, here goes my final opinion. I think the nay-sayers should concede, withdraw & support. I think that there are only two outcomes here for us 90s kids who include BMW as a part of our childhood world: 1) If Girl Meets World succeeds, great! I’d be so proud of Michael Jacobs for having another successful show. Translation: Nothing really to do with Boy Meets World, they are two separate shows. They just happen to have the same creator. The other outcome is 2) If Girl Meets World bombs, it really has zero negative effect on Boy Meets World because again, they are two separate shows. If GMW fails, we will just say “Boy Meets World” was better, giving our childhood a boost in cool factor. Think of all the shows that didn’t get revamped, remade or even remembered. They’re pretty much stored up in a locked up trunk of the sitcom library that sits in all of our 90s brains, keys lost and never found. We are lucky to possess the nostalgic memory of BMW and I proudly support Michael Jacobs in creating a new one for the new generation that awaits to possess such a memory of their own.

Honestly, one show really doesn’t have anything to do with the other. They could have marketed this as a completely new show and not mention BMW at all but I feel like they are giving BMW a shoutout, a nod, a well-deserved notable form of recognition if you must. So for me, that’s okay. In the world of creativity, you have to take risks. Like Austin Kleon says, “Steal like an artist.” In this case, perhaps Disney is only borrowing, but eventually, we will get it back and in the same condition, you will see.

My favorite episode is……
Eric Hollywood. If you haven’t seen it, the payoff is in the end. I love that broken wall.

Okay, this one too. The ironic part is that they said Eric made an ugly woman. HA!

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