Joanne Lau – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Imagine if a black comic came on munching on a watermelon and singing a calypso. Well, Joanne Lau adopts the Chinese equivalent of this Uncle Tom behaviour, addressing the audience in broken English, initially as if she was a waitress in a Chinese restaurant.

Hers is an all-purpose ethnic stereotype, too. She can evoke dog-chomping Koreans in one gag, Japanese schoolgirls the next, or a Thai hooker the next. The joke is, presumably, on us dumb Westerners who can’t tell the difference between any of these major Asian nations – but you can’t help but feel she’s pandering to this prejudice, too.

Especially frustrating is the fact she doesn’t need to use her ethnicity as such a cheap gimmick, as this relative newcomer repeatedly proves herself a strong writer, with some rock-solid gags.

She’s lacking in direction, mind, with a set that’s something of a jumble: sometimes whimsical with so-so puns elevated into routines of their own, but sometimes hard-edged and aggressive.

She overcomes this with a good supply sharp and funny lines, which suggests she could well prove to be a formidable comic once she gets to grips with who she is, and where her comedy is coming from.

Review date: 12 Jun 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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