There are still, really, only two names in town when it comes to comedy – TakeOut and Punchline – although headline stars do occasionally tour here separately.
TakeOut Comedy Club
The first venue based comedy club in Hong Kong, TakeOut comedy club has enjoyed some incredible success since its launch in 2007. The club started out as an opportunity for local expats to show their skills alongside more established names from abroad. Since then, TakeOut has started hosting regular Cantonese language nights, as well as sprinkling a little star dust into its English language line ups but the local talent formula remains much the same.
As an incubator and promoter of local talent, TakeOut’s attempt to foster a comedy culture in Hong Kong is a worthy enterprise, but as an audience member it’s a little more hit and miss. There is come comedy gold here but there is also some comedy trash and the fact that much of the material is untested means you run the risk of sitting through some clangers.
What you do get is more localised humour, jokes and jibes aimed at the many idiosyncrasies of Hong Kong and Hong Kongers and for that it’s well worth a visit. Shows are performed in front of a small audience of just a few dozen on tiny stages where acts typically get under 10 minutes to deliver their jokes.
Takeout also offers workshops to help local comics improve and is the legs behind Hong Kong’s new comedy festival. You can find more details on their website.
You can find TakeOut Comedy Club at 34 Elgin Street in Soho with weekly shows taking place every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tickets range from HK$50 – HK$150 depending on who is performing. Worth stumping up for is Vivek Mahbubani; the biggest success story out of TakeOut this bilingual local has plenty to say about the state of Hong Kong.
Punchline ComedyThe original Hong Kong comedy club, Punchline has been making Hong Kongers laugh since 1994. What started as an expat effort with local amateurs up on stage gradually transformed into bringing decent names from Britain to perform in Hong Kong and has now mushroomed into a multi city, regular monthly show.
With the local amateurs now by passed most of the acts of mid-range talent or proven journeymen comedians from the UK, Australia and other Commonwealth countries, as well as a smattering of true star names. There are local support acts but the mostly expat audience is there for the imported stars and the humour is straight from Britain- which many would say is the best kind – and there are plenty of belly laughs here. Some of the improvisation work is of star quality.
Punchline doesn’t have its own venue instead rotating its monthly shows around a select group of restaurants and bars. Tickets are booked through CityLine and cost around HK$300 for their standard three person line up. Events are in English only.