Sketch comedy group Assaulted Fish spoke at Langara’s March 13 Philosophers’ Jam about using humour to connect people from different walks of life.
The Assaulted Fish members that attended the performance were Kuan Foo, Nelson Wong, Lissa Neptuno and Marlene Dong, who is a Langara communications officer. The group began the two-hour gathering with four sketches: a mock news broadcast, a movie pitch, Death’s monologue and the four members reacting to developments of a newsprint article.
Diversity key for jokes
Afterwards the performance, the members discussed their own approach to comedy while the crowd was welcomed to volley questions at the comedians.
The group are all of Asian-Canadian background, and are diverse in gender, sexual orientation and experience. These differences provide the basis for many of their jokes.
“No matter how diverse the crowd is or however various our backgrounds or upbringings are, the fact that we share that experience together, that’s special to me,” Wong said.
Dong said their workshops also focus on finding ways to connect people from different backgrounds.
“When it’s [a joke] that we bring to the table and everyone finds it funny, I think we’ve hit on something,” she said.
Philosophers’ Jam a big opportunity
Assaulted Fish said they don’t often get opportunities like the Philosophers’ Jam, which was attended by roughly 50 people.
“It’s actually nice for us to have a forum like this, to talk to other people about it,” Dong said. “We’ll cover a good deal of discussion during the workshopping process. But no one is really privy to those conversations.”
The group is also concerned with providing context for their jokes, not censoring the jokes.
“We are careful when we try and figure out what the context is that people see and hear those jokes,” Wong said.
“Funny, in and of itself, is not a value system,” Foo said, acknowledging that laughter at a bad joke does not give the joke merit. “We laugh at things all the time that we probably shouldn’t.”
Assaulted Fish’s website www.assaultedfish.com lists upcoming performances.
Reported by Graham McFie.