Where This All Began - Origins of Stand Up in Suzhou Part. 1

In honor of the opening of the brand new Kung Fu Komedy Club in Shanghai I thought now would be the most appropriate time to share the story of the first-ever open mic comedy show in mainland China.* This is part one in a multi-part series. In the summer of 2009 I was five years into my China stay and experiencing that sinking feeling that you get when you know an era is ending. My band “The Jackie Treehorn Experience” was breaking up because our lead singer was moving back to England, and in general most of my original group of friends were on their way out. Five years is about as long as a reasonable non-Chinese person can live in a struggling second-tier Chinese city, and our five years

The Making of my Ethnic Neighborhood

I’m from a town called Sacramento, California. Its two hours drive from San Francisco. As a kid going into San Francisco I always looked at Chinatown, Little Italy, Japan town etc. and wondered, how did all of the ethnic neighborhoods begin? And then ten seconds ago I wondered, is “ethnic” a term I’m allowed to use? Really though, why did the Chinese people all move to Chinatown? Was it named Chinatown first by some local ordinance, and then they moved in? Did some white guy build a couple of buildings with sweeping tile roofs and Chinese people thought, “This looks like my house! I’ll live there”. I wondered. Is this arch thing really all it took to get Chinese people to move to San Fr

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