Ken Cheng’s debut hour at the Fringe is a no frills, no nonsense and educational comedy show.
The Edinburgh Fringe festival is going well for Cheng, he’s had regular sell out shows, was announced on the ‘BBC New Talent Hotlist 2017’ and won ‘Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe’ award with his joke: “I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change.” His show is full of snappy one liners such as this but lacks an overall message.
Straight talking, stoic, and rarely smiling, Cheng’s individuality cannot be denied.
His approach to comedy is incredibly analytical, throughout the show Cheng identifies unusual linguistic habits and explores them until they’re hilarious.
This comedian wastes no time with introductions and quickly launches into his first routine: the dissection of the phrase: ‘two birds with one stone’. This bit is clearly well rehearsed and is the strongest part of his show.
The well researched and interpretive material – especially when combined with his many tables, graphs and powerpoint presentations – reveals Cheng’s soft spot for education.
Cheng briefly touches upon his own story and it’s fascinating. A proficient mathematician from a young age, he eventually dropped out of Cambridge University to become a professional poker player after winning $5000 from online poker during his first week, however he isn’t the focus of the show.
Occasionally touching on more serious topics such as race and sexism, the show is overall more lighthearted and pokes fun at the unique intricacies of the English language.
Cheng boldly states that he likes to have ‘controversial opinions’ and regularly takes it upon himself to aggravate strangers on the internet through trolling, making light of their confused and sometimes irate responses to his posts. This makes for an awkward segment of an otherwise pleasant and enjoyable show.
Ken Cheng: Chinese Comedian is an interesting, academic, hour that will no doubt make you laugh.
Ken Cheng: Chinese Comedian
image: Steve Ullathorne