Author Topic: Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg  (Read 3613 times)

orator

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Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg
« on: May 02, 2009, 06:05:49 PM »
Kind of.

Saw this over on Louis CK's blog and thought it was neat:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD0s7gfTotk



Quote from: Louis CK
In the meantime, I am going to do something I haven't done before, which is simply post a youtube clip of a young comedian who I really enjoyed. His name is Joe Wong and this is a set he did on LEtterman.
Why am I showing you this? Is this guy the best comedian in the country? No. but this set is very special.

I remember when being on Letterman was THE thing all comedians wanted. It was the arrival. Beyond the prestige, there was somethign about a great shot on Letterman. Doing a great five minute standup set on a talk show used to be an art unto itself. Guys like Steven Wright turned that into a career. A perfect distilled version of the comic. An excellently timed and organized set. A quick arc of development and peak within a few short minutes. At it's best, it's like an olympic dive.

Years ago, Chris Rock and I were writing a shitty movie together. We were talking about comedians. We went to Mitch Hedberg's site (this is before he died) and watched one of his Letterman sets. At the time, Chris and I were (and are) both wind-bag, stage-stalking, hammer a premise to the ground comics. We watched Mitch, who just fired beautiful fastballs one after the other. Joke joke joke. All solid. All amazing. Non-stop. Five minutes of it. We were in awe of it. Much respect to Mitch Hedberg. Anyway, he was one of the last guys who really made an art of the five minute set.

I did Letterman about five times in my life. I used to obsess about those little sets. I had a few good ones. No tens, I suppose. I think I did better later on the Tonight Show. I was funnier by then. I haven't been on Letterman in about ten years (dunno why).

In any case, I somehow stumbled recently on this set by Joe. I watched it because I saw that he hales from the Comedy Studio in Cambridge Mass. This is a tiny room, about ninety seats, above a pink Chinese restaurant. The entire comedy scene that I came from in Boston now only exists in that tiny room. There are still some very odd people doing comedy in there, thank god.

I never saw this guy before. Watch this set. He really nails it. Some of the jokes are really good. Some of them are a bit pedestrian. But he really nails the set. He had to be in a crazily agitated state. He is WAY out of his league here but he held his own through some sweet strength of will. Really great, great job.

Watch the set build. He destroys. My favorite part is at about 4:45. He says "Do you even know who is Benjamin Franklin?" the crowd explodes. He seems, for the first time, to come out of the set and realize how hard he's killing and he grins with real happiness. The crowd seems to realize this and swells into applause. I really really envy Joe for this moment. I remember my very first Letterman set (April 19th 1995, the same day Tim Mcveigh bombed the Fed building in Oklahoma) It was over very very quickly and the first thought I had when it was over was "Shit. I forgot to enjoy that." I haven't made that mistake since and I always make a point of taking a mental snapshot of the big moments but there's nothing like your first time.
Anyway, congratulations, Joe. Nice job. Your challenge now is to make that act work for more than five minutes. That will come with decades of work, if you're up to it.

Also, very big kudos and admiration to Dave Letterman and my good friend Eddie Brill, who books the comics on the show. This was a great and not obvious pick. Good on you for giving this dude a shot.

*One note about Joe and his language and accent. Joe's dialect of Chinese, which I don't know the name of but recognize from Chinese films that I have seen, is so completely against the grain of English. Like the way the chinese have their own musical scale, the timing and dramatic ups and downs and off-rythm stops and starts of Chinese, is really interesting to listen to when it is fighting against the current of speaking English. FOr some reason I love listening to this coming from Joe. It's musical. And the fact that he manages to harness this and turn it into dead-on comic timing that is very unique, is goddamn impressive.


http://www.louisck.net/2009/04/joe-wong.html

 Also interesting there is Louis' blog posts about a USO tour he did. Lots of pictures, and it's pretty funny and sad and sweet.
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A.M. Thomas

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Re: Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2009, 06:32:24 PM »
I enjoyed that.

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fonpr

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Re: Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2009, 06:44:13 PM »
That was very nice.  CK's comments made it even more enjoyable.

Good show Oreator
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Big Plastic Head

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Re: Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2009, 08:49:04 PM »
That got some good authentic laughs from me. And LCK's analysis was some great insight that a pleeb like me would never have known. Thanks for that, orator!
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Steve of Bloomington

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Re: Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2009, 09:13:18 PM »
Very funny, I liked his stuff.

nec13

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Re: Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2009, 09:18:14 PM »
That was really good. He is indeed very reminiscent of Mitch Hedberg.
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Trembling Eagle

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Re: Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2009, 10:56:44 PM »
good stuff, I was rooting for him.

Denim Gremlin

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Re: Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2009, 01:17:51 AM »
he's funny.  i really like the citizenship stuff, especially when it paid off later.

but his act definitely needs some work, the marriage stuff is pretty tired and can come off a bit hacky.
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Gilly

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Re: Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2009, 01:53:08 AM »
I don't see the Mitch Hedberg comparison other than the timing.

moonshake

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Re: Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2009, 11:47:47 AM »
His timing is gay.
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Fido

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Re: Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2009, 01:12:52 PM »
I like it when one can say something as simple as, "I'm Irish," and it gets a laugh. Minimalist comedy. I like Joe.

nec13

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Re: Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2009, 01:29:20 PM »
His timing is gay.

Is it possible to have heterosexual timing?
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Pidgeon

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Re: Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2009, 01:30:05 PM »
I like it when one can say something as simple as, "I'm Irish," and it gets a laugh. Minimalist comedy. I like Joe.

I was watching that 15 year old Seth Rogen stand-up video. At the beginning he just says "I'm Jewish" and it gets a huge laugh out of the crowd.

It's so stupid.

Steve of Bloomington

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Re: Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2009, 01:35:54 PM »
I don't see the Mitch Hedberg comparison other than the timing.

One liners like 'I'm afraid of marriage, I've seen the statistics and half of them last forever.'

His delivery is somewhat Hedbergian, yeh.

moonshake

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Re: Joe Wong, the asian Mitch Hedberg
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2009, 01:58:27 PM »
"You want me to recognize you and I won't. I won't acknowledge you! I deny you. So you keep begging and begging. The door is slammed on you. I want nothing to do with you. You will die unrecognized by me."
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