They hope to join the ranks of those like them – Russell Peters, Dat Phan, and Margaret Cho, who have already made it big. And, like the talented comedians that have came before them, they hope to pass on a bit of knowledge about the Asian American experience along the way. Meet stand-up comics Bradley Lum and Mark Zhang, whose hilarious commentary on their ex-girlfriends, being Asian, and growing up skinny, headline this year’s CockyAsians Comedy Tour. The show is making a stop in San Francisco on August 31 at the Punch Line Comedy Club. Doors open at 7 pm, with the show beginning at 8 pm.
The YouTube generation might already be familiar with Bradley Lum, although they may not know it. Lum is the creator and voice behind comedic Asian rapper Tai Mai Shu, whose album How to Make a Million Dollars developed an underground cult following among Asian American youth upon its release in 2004. Lum’s character has collaborated with rappers such as San Quinn and G Boogie, and has recorded everything from prank calls to freestyling about McDonald’s. In April, he made his television debut as a guest comic on Entertain Me!, a variety TV show on KHON-TV in Honolulu, Hawaii. His talents don’t stop there: Lum, a former restaurateur, continues to market his own Hawaiian-branded ketchup and sauces. Named Ono Grindz, his company is the chief sponsor of the CockyAsians tour.
Today, Lum is developing an increasingly successful comedy career, and has been touring for over four years. He covers everything from Asian hygiene to his days as a skinny teenager trying to impress the ladies. His character Tai Mai Shu is never far behind though, as he still incorporates a hip-hop flair onstage in the form of beatboxing and impressions.
“I talk about life experiences, awkward situations, and Asian stereotypes like cleanliness and bargain shopping,” says Lum. As for Tai Mai Shu? “I want to bring that character back in my routine,” he says. And his unique sounds to his routine certainly seek to do the trick.
It was a year ago when Lum met his co-headliner for this tour, in the form of a fellow finalist at the San Francisco Walk the Plank Comedy Competition. The two immediately hit it off and decided to tour together. Now a very close confidant, his former competition goes by the name of Mark Zhang, aka “Zhangster.” Taking pride in “fighting ignorance with ignorance,” Zhang’s comedy covers many social issues and adds an unpredictable comedic twist. A San Francisco resident, his accolades include reaching the finals of both the 2009 San Francisco Walk the Plank Comedy Competition and the 2010 Bay Area Killer Laughs Comedy Competition.
After leaving an eight-year relationship in anguish, Zhang has managed to turn heartbreak into the catalyst for a blossoming comedy career, incorporating routines on his ex-girlfriend, his elementary school days, and his views on Asian culture. Although it might look to be all fun and games to his audience, the Zhangster hopes people will gain something more than just laughs.
“We take pride in our jokes,” says Zhang, “Although it might not seem like it, we take comedy seriously. I feel that comedy is a form of education, and we can teach Asian culture through comedy.”
“I’ve done shows with white audiences in the Midwest where people would come up to me after and say ‘We didn’t know Asians were like that,’” Zhang continued. “This show is another way of putting Asian comedians out there and showing people something different about us.”
Cheer on these two cocky Asians alongside guest comedians Gabriella Francis, Vince Royale, Herb Diggs, and Jimmy Ouyang on August 31 at the Punch Line Comedy Club located at 444 Battery Street between Washington and Clay Streets. For more information visit www.punchlinecomedyclub.com.