March is comedy month in Vietnam with punters having the opportunity to see six quality international acts live, supported by the best up-and-coming comics Vietnam has to offer at the Magners International Comedy Festival from Monday Mar. 20 to Thursday Mar. 23.
Monday, Mar. 20
It kicks off on Mar. 20 with the All-Vietnam Finals of the Big V Comedy Competition at La Fenetre Soleil in Saigon, hosted by Canadian comic Lars Calleiou and UK comic Matthew Giffen.
Calleiou has compiled an impressive list of Canadian comedy credits with a special airing on the Comedy Network, including appearances at the Just For Laughs and Halifax Comedy Festivals. His comedy radio show was nominated for a 2011 Canadian Comedy Award. He’s also been on CBC’s The Debaters, XM Radio and Shaw Cable.
As well as co-hosting the All-Vietnam Big V Comedy Competition finals, you can catch him live in Saigon at the Grand Gala at the Caravelle Saigon on Mar. 22 and at Standing Bar in Hanoi on Mar. 23 where he’ll be performing with co-host of the All-Vietnam Big V Competition finals, award-winning comic Matthew Giffen.
Giffen is the star of BBC 3’s hit show The Fear in the UK and has headlined theatres across Asia and Europe. His debut show Cocaine & Potatoes won the Critics’ Choice Award at the Perth Fringe festival in 2015. This will be Giffen’s second appearance at the Magners International Comedy Festival in Vietnam. He will also be performing at the Grand Gala at the Caravelle Saigon on Mar. 22.
Tuesday, Mar. 21
Following the crowning of Vietnam’s best comic at the All Vietnam Finals of the Big V Competition, three big guns take over on Mar. 21 at Game On (115 Ho Tung Mau, Q1, HCMC) in Saigon with outspoken Canadian comic Dana Alexander, Kiwi gagster Andre King, and Aussie comic John Robertson.
Alexander started stand-up when she was 18 and has gone on to establish herself as a regular at Yuk Yuk’s comedy venues across Canada. Alexander packed her bags and moved to the UK in 2011, where she made her Edinburgh Fringe festival debut. In 2012 she was nominated best comic at the Chortle Awards and following that, made her way onto television in BBC programmes like Russell Howard’s Good News and The Culture Show on BBC 2.
Appearing with Alexander will be Kiwi comic powerhouse Andre King who has spent the last six years travelling throughout the UK, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. King is a regular on New Zealand television hosting his own TV series Hardcase, and stars in the world’s number one rated comedy web series The High Road. King will also appear at the Grand Gala at the Caravelle Saigon on Mar. 22 and Standing Bar in Hanoi on Mar. 23.
Rounding out the trio at Game On on Mar. 21 is Australian comic John Robertson who describes himself as “TV presenter, columnist, multimedia artist, games designer, crowdsurfer, and recreational sadist.” Robertson first gained attention in 2003 when he faked a seizure on national television in Australia. Since then, he has toured much of Europe and Asia and has co-hosted Sky’s Videogame Nation — the UK’s only dedicated gaming TV show. You can also catch Robertson at the Grand Gala at the Caravelle Saigon on Mar. 22.
Early bird tickets are VND200,000 until Mar. 17 and then VND250,000 from Mar. 18 onwards. They can be purchased at Game On or online at magnersfestivalgameon.eventbrite.com. For more info, visit facebook.com/saigoninternationalcomedy. Doors open 8pm
Wednesday, Mar. 22
The highlight of the festival comes with the Grand Gala at the Caravelle Saigon (19 Lam Son Square, Q1, HCMC) where Alexander, King, Robertson, Giffen and Callieou will all perform under one roof. Ticket prices start at VND300,000 for the early bird promotion until Mar. 17 and VND400,000 from Mar. 18 onwards. There are special VIP tickets available at VND1 million each.
All tickets are strictly limited and can be purchased at the Caravelle Saigon, Business Centre, Level 2 or online at magnersfestivalcaravelle.eventbrite.com. For more info, visit facebook.com/saigoninternationalcomedy. Doors open 8pm.
Thursday, Mar. 23
The comedy festival winds up in Hanoi at Standing Bar (170 Tran Vu, Ba Dinh, Hanoi) with Andre King, Lars Callieou and American comic Jim Brewsky.
Brewsky has become one of the biggest and brightest names in comedy on the Asia circuit. Based in Hong Kong, Brewsky was the overall winner of the 2015 Magners International Comedy Festival, which included comedians from four countries.
Early bird tickets are VND200,000 until Mar. 21 and VND250,000 from Mar. 22 onwards. They are available at Standing Bar or at facebook.com/standuphanoi. For more info, visit standuphanoi.com. Doors open 8pm.
For further information regarding all of the shows visit facebook.com/MagnersInternationalComedyFestival
Photos by Nick Ross / Magners International Comedy Festival 2016