Local comedians Tamby Chan and Joanna Sio have been selected to represent Hong Kong in the Funniest Person in the World (FPIW), a competition run by legendary Los Angeles comedy club The Laugh Factory. 88 candidates from over 50 countries are competing for a chance to win US$100,000 and a stand-up tour across the United States. Since opening in 1979, The Laugh Factory has churned out some of the world’s biggest names including Jim Carrey, Dave Chappelle and Ellen Degeneres, just to name a few. Jamie Masada, owner of The Laugh Factory and a long-time promoter of peace and tolerance via laughter, hopes the competition adds a little happiness to the world by connecting people from different backgrounds.
Chan has been developing his comedic voice and unique perspective through a lifetime of trial and error. As much as he claims himself to be “very ordinary”, Chan’s snappy performances have resonated with locals and expats alike. He was selected as a finalist in the 2014 Hong Kong International Comedy Festival and the 2014 Magners Best New Act Competition. Next month, Chan will once again take the stage at the 10th Annual Hong Kong International Comedy Festival 2016. On his vision of Hong Kong’s comedy scene, Chan is optimistic. “Given the art form's ability to utilise free speech to speak truth to power," he says, "we seem like a city that is uniquely positioned to embrace comedy in the coming years.”
Sio, who grew up in Hong Kong, started her comedy career in Europe with Amsterdam-based comedy group Easylaughs. After finding her way back to Hong Kong, Sio started performing at popular Soho club TakeOut Comedy. She is now part of Singapore's very first all-female touring comedy troupe, Comedy on Heels – and yes, they do wear heels when they perform. When asked about where her passion lies in terms of improv ideas, Sio expressed her interests in details of everyday life, including experiences growing up in Hong Kong and being a Chinese parent. “Doing improv and stand-up comedy in my second language allows me to liberate from all forms of conventions and boundaries,” says Sio.
The competition consists of three rounds. Round one is where you come in. Videos of the two qualifying contestants from each country will be posted on Indi, an online video social network where viewers to vote for their favourite. The votes are tallied up by Indi Buzz, where points are calculated based on the total interactions each video submission receives. Viewers can vote as much as they like, from now until Sunday October 2. Only contestants with the highest Indi Buzz score will advance to the top 20. To support our local talent, check out both Tamby Chan and Joanna Sio on Indi now. Christie Tse.