Over the last few months, we’ve charted the formation and growth of Comedy Fukuoka, an organisation that has dedicated itself to bringing laughs to Fukuoka. Only in January we covered the first ever open mic night in Fukuoka, a sold-out comedy bonanza that set the scene for what was to come. This was followed by a string of monthly comedy showcases, featuring guests from Japan: Osaka and Tokyo and as far afield as Hong Kong. All of this has now culminated in Fukuoka’s first ever Comedy Festival (May 27 – 31, 2015).
Saturday night of the Fukuoka Comedy Festival was billed as the All-Star International Comedy Showcase and was jam packed with comedians from Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong, the UK and Japan. While all of the comedians performed in English, many of them had performed the night before in Japanese at an event hosted by Kaori, a buoyant Japanese comedienne who’s Saturday night performance transcended the barriers of language. The level of talent on show was exceptionally high, and the comedians demonstrated their experience with slick routines and effortless audience interaction that had the crowd in fits of raucous laughter throughout the night. Particular crowd favourites were the eye-wateringly hilarious Michael Hill and BJ Fox (both from the UK) as well as Zenjiro, a Japanese comedian who has performed for both the BBC and HBO.
Accompanying these experienced comedians were some of the Comedy Fukuoka open-mic night favourites, who complimented the evening by performing three to five minute sets between the main acts and were refreshing in both content and style. Fans of Comedy Fukuoka will have seen the return of Julia Lazenbatt, who’s performances have gone from strength to strength with a seemingly endless stream of new material (Harry Potter fans would have been pleased).
A special mention must go out as always to Ollie Horn, the evening’s host and the driving force behind both Comedy Fukuoka and the Fukuoka Comedy Festival. Through sheer grit and power of talent, Ollie has turned something non-existent into a flowering scene that has allowed both experienced and novice comedians to delight the laugh-hungry crowds of Fukuoka.
Fukuoka has been described as the friendliest stage in Asia, but when the talent is that high, it’s not hard to see why, there’s not a thing to complain about.
Not seen any of the comedy so far? Join the Fukuoka Comedy Festival on its final night tonight, May 31 (Sun.) Tonight will be a huge night, with New York Circuit and Comedy Central favourite Ben Kronberg performing in Le Jardin, Nakasu. Tickets are in short supply, so make sure you buy yours in advance. (SOME TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE!)
More about tonight’s show with Ben Kronberg and others: https://www.facebook.com/events/864099483629536/