Held in Standing Bar on Friday, Mar. 9, the finals of the Heart of Darkness Vietnam Amateur Comedy Competition decided who is the funniest comedian based in Vietnam.
After the riotous heats in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City back in January — where more than a few people laughed themselves silly, and shreds of dignity were found scattered around each venue — it was decided that the Hanoi-based comedians couldn’t be bothered to fly to Ho Chi Minh City. So it was that the finals were held in the capital.
With three of Hanoi’s best going head to head with three of the finest comedians from Ho Chi Minh City, the stakes were high to see which city is more laughable.
Crafts for Laughs
Bringing comedians from over the country to one place marks a turning point in the comedy scene in Vietnam. With tickets sold out the day of the event, and 19 craft beers on tap from Heart of Darkness Brewery, the scene was set for some bent-over laughter. And the comics delivered.
Hosted by Hanoi-based comedian Fred Le, the six comedians each had around 10 minutes to strut their stuff.
After an evening of self-deprecating jokes; dubious advice on wilderness survival; and new ideas on what to do with the cucumber in your fridge, the panel of judges finally settled on a joint first place between Hanoi-based Glyn Richards and Ho Chi Minh City’s own Uy Le.
Glyn Richards can be found in the areas surrounding Hanoi, practicing his own brand of wilderness survival, which we don’t recommend you follow if you value your life. Putting on an alter-ego, Glyn’s survival advice can be summed up in his go-to catchphrase: “Survive like me, don’t die like a knobhead.”
Uy Le reminded us all that Asian parents have really high expectations of their kids — perhaps with this prize money he can finally convince them to be proud of him.
In second place was Hanoi’s Nguyen Tuan Anh, also known by his stage name, Rockstar Alex. A budding magician, Alex’s magic seemingly didn’t make the cut for the circus, but a room full of drunk people found it hilarious, and so did the judges.
In third place was Ho Chi Minh City’s Vu Minh Tu, after winning the audience over with stories about her cucumber, Pierre, and her boyfriend’s problems in bed.
While not securing a runner-up place, Hanoi-based Sara Butryn and Ho Chi Minh City’s Keith Howard also put on top-notch performances, having the audience in stitches.
The Heart of Darkness Vietnam Amateur Comedy Competition has highlighted the phenomenal comedy talent currently dwelling in Vietnam. The third year of the competition, and the first year where it was sponsored by Heart of Darkness, this year’s event also had much more participation from Vietnamese comedians, as opposed to last year’s predominantly expat lineup.
With comedians lining up to perform, and sold-out events becoming increasingly common, you can be sure to get your fill of laughs this year.
The regional finals of the Amateur Comedy Competition, The Big V, will be held at Caravelle Saigon on Monday, Apr. 2. Uy Le and Glyn Richards will battle it out with five comedians from other cities in the region. For more information and to buy tickets, click on regionalfinalssaigon.eventbrite.com
PHOTOS BY TEIGUE JOHN BLOKPOEL