Stand-up Comedy

Standing Up In Front of an Audience (All Alone)

Americans love to laugh.  They often pay money to laugh at comedy clubs.  A comedy club is like a nightclub.  But instead of singing, dancing, or doing tricks, a lone person stands on the stage and tells jokes.

 Sunday Night Funnies, in Grand Rapids, MI, gives professionals and amateurs a chance to practice their joke-telling.

Sunday Night Funnies, in Grand Rapids, MI, gives professionals and amateurs a chance to practice their joke-telling.

Telling jokes all by yourself takes a lot of courage.  Because sometimes the audience doesn’t think you’re funny.  And there you are: standing all alone.

I have a lot of favorite comedians.  One of my newest favorites is an immigrant named Joe Wong.  Joe came from China to study at Rice University in Texas.  He earned a PhD in chemical engineering, but his passion was telling jokes.  So he practiced very hard and slowly learned how to be funny to American audiences.

I fell in love with his humor when I watched a video of him saying, “Hi, everybody, I’m Joe Wong.  So…I’m Irish…”  (The humor here, of course, is that he doesn’t look at all Irish—although many Americans are…and introduce themselves that way.)

For this episode, I have included a link to Joe’s website and some videos of his joke-telling.  I hope you enjoy them.  And I hope you draw encouragement from someone who came to this country as a non-native speaker, studied and practiced hard, and learned how to make his new compatriots laugh.  Joe Wong—one of my favorite new Americans!

 Famous American comedians: Sarah Silverman, Jay Leno, Bob Hope

Famous American comedians: Sarah Silverman, Jay Leno, Bob Hope

Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.