Shaun Hunter knows the difficulties of being a BIPOC comedian in the city.
“To be honest, it is very tough booking shows with a very diverse cast because there’s not a lot of them,” he says. “It’s also, you know, some of them aren’t available. That’s even tougher.”
Hunter and fellow part-time comedian Alfred Chow founded Mahjong Mafia in mid-pandemic, because they wanted more stage time for shows. Chow has seven years of experience and Hunter has five as part-time comedians.
All of Us Are Asian: Comedy Show is not their first show after indoor capacities were lifted.
They could not perform when the pandemic started, but spent their free time practising their craft through improv classes with various LA and New York mentors. Eventually, practices led to some comedy shows online.
“It’s a different beast on Zoom,” Chow said. “We did a few Zoom shows, but you’re playing Into darkness, essentially.”
Before producing their shows, Chow and Hunter stated that they were generally performing to a white audience. As they developed and created their shows with ethnically diverse comedians, they began seeing a more varied audience.
Colour in Comedy
Although the duo started Mahjong Mafia to have more stage time, they noticed how diverse their troop was. They realized they were creating opportunities for Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) comedians to be themselves on stage.
However, booking jobs with a diverse cast was still tough.
“A lot of producers are white, and they try their best to put forward a diverse show,” Chow said. “Generally, what happens, though? There’s just like a token Asian or a token black person, right?”
Despite their show being targeted to a diverse audience, Chow and Hunter encourage everyone to watch their show.
“No matter what colour, race or ethnicity you are, you’re going to see some kind of resemblance in your own life to what we’re doing on stage, regardless of skin colour,” Hunter said.
Tickets for All of Us Are Asian can be bought at Eventbrite $20, for the show to be held at 8 p.m. at SoCap Comedy on March 19.