Q&A :: Aaron Chen – The Laugh Stand
June 11th 2013
What were you doing at seventeen?
Memorising essays on Shakespeare? Practising your reverse park? Desperately searching for “third base”? Seventeen-year-old Aaron Chen is probably doing all of this too… but he’s also getting up on stage and wowing comedy audiences around the country. Two years since he started (we won’t ask what you were doing at 15) he’s already been the winner of Class Clowns (2012), an ABC Raw National Grand Finalist (2013) and Vice President of his School’s Space Exploration Committee (1973-4). The Flog’s Pat Dempsey hurled a few questions at him before he performs at The Laugh Stand – FBi Social’s monthly comedy night – on Wednesday 19 June.
Do you find it hard to juggle comedy and study? Do your school commitments make it hard to go do gigs? How do you balance the two?
Yes it’s very hard to juggle comedy and school but it’s become easier now that I’ve realised that HSC doesn’t really matter (and is governmental control. What? Yeah, fact). School isn’t fun when you’ve gigged until late last night but when school holidays come I gig lots man.
As a professional funny person is there a pressure around your close family and friends to be the funny guy?
Sometimes people tell me to tell them jokes and my social anxiety usually activates and I either cry or run away. It’s hard to be funny on cue for one person, especially at parks.
It’s hard to shock people these days. Do you think that because people are so desensitised in general that vulgar and crass humour will soon be a fad of the past?
No. As long as the internet is around people will probably still be part of the whole desensitisation process. In fact desensitisation is probably the way of the future.
How much do you worry about offending people as a comic? Have you ever had material that you’ve thrown out because you thought it crossed that fine line between funny and offensive?
My jokes have never really been that offensive. I haven’t ever been smart enough to do anything both offensive and funny. I had a joke about Parkinson’s once and people told me it was offensive so I eventually dropped it, but more because it wasn’t really funny. My ego normally outweighs my sensibility.
How do you keep your jokes funny when you tell them every night?
When I get bored of them, I stop doing them for a long while and when I bring them back it feels like I’m on a comeback tour.
How well rehearsed is your set? Is there much of an improvised component to it?
Not as well rehearsed as it used to be. I’m starting improvise a little more around ideas than just memorising one-liners. If there’s someone with a wacky t-shirt on, I like to zing them with an improvised zing.
How many times have you eaten moose?
Zero times actually.
WHAT: The Laugh Stand presented by Magners
WHO: Sam McCool, Ben Ellwood, Aaron Chen, Evan Ferguson, Rodney Todd, Evin Donohue, Angela Hume, Simon Bosco, Matt Lane
WHERE: FBi Social, Kings Cross Hotel
WHEN: Wednesday 19 June, 8pm
HOW MUCH: $10 FBi supporters / $15 non-supporters. Pre-purchase here (and get a free drink on arrival!)
We have a double pass to The Laugh Stand to give away to one lucky Flog reader. Just email email@example.com with ‘The Laugh Stand’ in the heading and your FBi supporter number to win!