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Eating, foodie, improv: the life of comedian Brendan Wan

Yummy Yummy Cha Cha – when you hear this what is the first thing which comes to mind? Yum Cha? Delicious Asian food? Fragrant Tea? Well if those are the things which you thought about you are on the right track. In actual fact Yummy Yummy Cha Cha is the name of the comedy improv show performed solo by comedian Brendan Wan at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. But, before we go into the depths of his comedy improv show and a treat interview, let’s find out who he is in a nutshell…from his biography of course!

Brendan Wan is a writer, producer and performer based in Melbourne. His work has been featured by The Age, ABC News and ABC Radio National. Brendan is the creator of Ethnic City, a live variety show featuring Melbourne’s talented performers of colour, and also the AACTA Nominated ABC web-series, ‘Gourmet Lazy’. More recently, Brendan can be seen as a presenter on ABC’s China Tonight.

Image via Melbourne International Comedy Festival

So, if the name doesn’t ring a bell, we are sure you all would have seen him present on all those big name ABC shows. However, for those who frequent the comedy scene, his name is nothing new! Now, back to the show! In a recent interview with Being Asian Australian, Wan described the main premise and the selling point of his comedy sketch show.

Yummy Yummy Cha Cha is basically a solo sketch show and to sum it up in a few words – it is just a very simple show. I kind of like to describe it as an unofficial one man variety show, so there will be sketches with clowning, some audience participation and other similar kind of stuff. There will also be some music comedy stuff and in essence there is no real story behind it and lots of fun and of course food”, he said.

Image via Brendan Wan Facebook page

To be a comedian is no easy feat, and to be an Asian background comedian comes with its own challenges. Stand up comedy which is making comedy via talking through a microphone to a live audience is the most purest form of comedy, but there are many other forms and Wan has chosen a different form of live comedy. For Wan, it is the challenge of comedy which makes him love the craft even more, and he found that improv sketches were more suitable for him and it provides the flexibility for him to show his other comedic skills.

“Sketch comedy incorporates a bit more of things like short plays, music etc. So it is more like scenarios and situations I am playing out and it gives me an opportunity to act out as I see fit – well what makes people laugh I guess. It is also less about the person themselves and more about the idea or the characters being played. In sketch comedy you also have musical cabaret, clowning and improv – that is more my thing and I hope audiences will love what I present in my show”, expressed Wan.

Wan is a very passionate person and it is clear he loves what he is doing. Wan mentioned that loving what he does gives him purpose and direction. He has a mission and aim to achieve – and that is to get more culturally diverse audiences out, and he stated that he will do this by inserting his own culture and identity into his comedy improv sketches – just like what he is doing with Yummy Yummy Cha Cha.

“One of my mission with my comedy is to get more Asian Australians and other culturally diverse audiences out and I do this by broadening the definition of what comedy means. I want to add elements of what makes me me – my Chinese-ness, love for Asian food and my identity growing up. This way I can educate new audiences who aren’t used to watching live shows”.

Finally, for those who have watched Yummy Yummy Cha Cha or those planning to (there are 3 more shows to check out), there are some takeaways Wan would like audiences to go home with after watching him perform. Many of the things have already been mentioned in the previous answer, but the main thing is he hopes he can make audiences smile, laugh and feel happy by the end of his show.

“I guess it is like I said before that it’s understanding the fun and excitement of watching live comedy and seeing how the different genres of comedy can broaden how a person thinks. If they watch my show and don’t connect or enjoy it, then I am okay with that. I hope for those who watch and do connect and enjoy it, I can just brighten their day just a bit. If they find my style of comedy entertaining, then I have done my job. I guess those are the takeaways!”

Image via Brendan Wan Facebook page

If you are in Melbourne or plan to be, there are still opportunities to check out Yummy Yummy Cha Cha. Please click here or go to: https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2023/shows/yummy-yummy-cha-cha?fbclid=IwAR0vWW4vGfwdVciIDAlQD8W7t9tXqqDnGJHaNPGfCKqbW48CFXt9CJIfwCo, for date and ticket details. Also be mindful that there are also other Asian Australian comedians – so check out the entire comedy festival schedule!

Images via Brendan Wan Facebook page and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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