Many Asian standup comics have lines — the kind they seem unwilling to cross. For example, they seem constrained by lines that keep them from being macho and openly sexual. Eliot Chang isn’t. In one of his routines he talks up his penis size. In his own video promo he toys with three buxom women.
Another pleasant surprise: Chang doesn’t seek laughs by ridiculing Asians. In fact, his acts rarely involve ethnicity. When they do, it’s to ridicule people who mock Asians. A topic to which he does seem particularly drawn are the vanities and foibles of young women. His acts have zeroed in on girls who update their facebooks too frequently, the impossibility of snapping one picture for a group of women, the way women refuse to let boyfriends short-circuit arguments.
Eliot Chang is the stud among the current crop of young Asian American standup comics. His facial features are almost too regular for a comedian. He’s a sharp dresser whose clothes show off bulging biceps and sculpted torso. He’s utterly comfortable with his sexuality. In one act he riffs about his fondness for loud, apartment-rousing sex.
The balls-out style carries over to the way Chang works. Unlike most professional comics who hone jokes on paper before firing them at live audiences, Chang takes the stage on inspiration and improvises. He doesn’t write the material down until he’s performed it at least three times to get the kinks out.
It’s working. At the moment Chang is more than holding his own against a small army of comics on Comedy Central’s Standup Showdown 2011. He’s determined to be among the top 10 when the contest ends January 27. So far he’s among the top but he has been pushing everyone to vote for him once a day at http://bit.ly/gBVILr or by texting “CHANG” to 44686. Actually, he’s encouraging fans to DOUBLE their votes by doing both.
Chang’s intense — not to say maniacal — performing style is in sharp contrast to his obsessive concerns about privacy. We got him to disclose that he was born in Queens, New York on September 27, but not the year. He revealed that he graduated with a BS in biology but not the name of his high school or college.
“I don’t want to name exact schools because with the internet these days people can find out so much about you that I want to limit how much information I give out,” he explained. “I hope you understand. I’m just an extremely private person.” Next