Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lawrence Leung's Choose Your Own Adventure


The Asian presence on Australian TV has always been scant. And no, the Asians on Border Security getting busted for all manner of dodginess, they don't count. So aside from Kylie Kwong, Kamahl, the chick from Hi-5... not that many spring to mind. Asian-Australians have long been waiting for an Asian guy to step up and represent, by starring in his own show.

Well Lawrence Leung is that guy, finally. I guess Asians looking for their own star would have perhaps liked him to be a little less nerdy, but Leung is nerdy in the best way possible. Lawrence Leung's Choose Your Own Adventure (ABC, Wednesday nights at 9:30) looks to be the best local comedy produced this year.

Melbourne boy Leung has been doing the standup comedy thing for a while now, as well as writing for The Chaser and doing weekly bits on RRR's morning show. I have never found him to be uproariously funny as a standup, but the format of his show suits his gentle, endearingly geeky persona.

The premise of Choose Your Own Adventure is Leung revisiting the dreams of his childhood and actually doing the things he never got to do, like being a rockstar. The brilliant first episode sees our hero seeking out the girl he had a crush on in primary school and seeking help from the experts on how to woo her. Said experts include 80s pop star Tiffany and a pair of PUAs (expert Pick-Up Artists). Anyone who has read the Neil Strauss book "The Game" will be familiar with these guys.

A golden moment is Leung's meeting with Ross Jeffries, the uber-creepy godfather of the pickup game. Jeffries, who introduces himself with the additional qualification "My current girlfriend is 19 and Swedish" advises Leung's wide-eyed queries about his childhood crush with comments about blow jobs and f***king. Leung's face during this exchange is priceless.

But the stars of the show are Leung's parents Leo and Doris, who completely steal every scene they are in. They need their own show. Their comments regarding the inherent creepiness of their son's fixation on a girl he knew from 3rd grade are the highlight of the show, and are a reminder that Asian parents are an untapped comic goldmine.

You can watch episodes at www.abc.net.au/tv/lawrence/ if you are in Australia; otherwise, youtube is your best bet.

2 comments:

  1. Quite pleased he's got his own tv show. Caught his live act about 8 years ago at the Comedy Festival and thought hey he's Chinese! he's onstage! he's funny! man - he got to meet Tiffany?!

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  2. Yup, Tiffany. The show is full of nods to the 80s.
    I think one reason I like Leung is because he reminds me of about half the people I hang around with, only funnier.

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