Kung Fu Komedy’s pro-in-residence Joe Klocek is getting to the end of his time in China. Here, he looks back on his two months in Shanghai.
I’ve spent almost two months in Shanghai now as the headlining comic in residence at the Kung Fu Komedy club. People keep asking me about the whole adventure. Well, when I first got here I thought I would try to embrace the culture as much as possible. I bought a tea pot and some tea. After about a week I just wasn’t enjoying the taste of tea. As a dedicated coffee drinker I guess I just missed that morning coffee too much. When I was dumping out the water for the last time I noticed something in the pot. Sure enough, I had left the small instruction booklet inside the pot. It had been there the entire time.
Thats what my two months in China have been like: every thing I’ve learned here has been by accident.
By the way. The first direction in the booklet said, remove before making tea. In fact it was about the only part of the ink which hadn’t run out when I had repeatedly used it. Good to know.
Weird things keep happening. At one show in Changzhou, the tickets they made up featured my name and then a postage stamp sized photo of me in the corner. As people came in, the guy at the door tore the ticket, handed the customers back the portion with my name on it and then dropped the photos of me into a small cardboard box. It’s a weird feeling to look into a box and see a bunch of little you’s looking back like puppies in a pet shop. At the end of the show the guy at the door said, “open your hand.” When I did, he dumped about a hundred of the photos of me into my palm. I put them in my pocket and thought nothing more about them.
After the tea mess up, I started going to the McCafe close to where I am staying in Shanghai. Every day I would go in and order a coffee from the same young woman behind the counter. One day I went to pay, I reached into my pocket to pull out the 20RMB, and instead all the little photos of me hit the counter and spread out everywhere. They covered the place. I didn’t know what to say, I don’t speak any Chinese. Let’s be honest, I’m American, I don’t even speak English good.
What could I say anyway? I like to celebrate myself every morning so I had confetti made with my face on it? I just like to throw it in the air each morning. “Joe!” I struggle with the hope that I am being a good cultural ambassador. What must this woman think? What will she tell her friends when I leave? “Did you know that Americans are so vain that when their cellphones don’t work they bring selfies with them in their pockets?” Ugh.
As she made my coffee I got busy collecting all the little photo ticket stubs. There were two left when she returned from behind the machine with my coffee. She stared down at them, slowly looked up at me awkwardly, then put her finger on the last one and started pulling it toward her. Who’s the weirdo now, I wondered?
Everyone I told this story too asked me if I would go back tomorrow. Yes! I’m American and it’s just across the street. Lazy trumps embarrassment anyway.
Oh, and what did she do with that photo? I don’t know but I have a feeling she gave it to the police thinking, someone needs to keep an eye on this guy. That, or maybe she put it in her tea pot.
THIS FRIDAY 8.30pm at the Kung Fu Komedy Club:
5th Floor, 219 Jinxian Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu
Tickets: 100 RMB in advance, 150 RMB door.
For details on Joe Klocek’s Saturday show, click here.