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Michael Herd: Deep Shanghai'd


Michael Herd: Deep Shanghai'd

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69 Home St
Basement: AUG 17-27 at 19:15 (60 min) - Free & Unticketed

Michael Herd: Deep Shanghai'd

Deep Shanghai'd - how did one Scottish guy end up turning one year in China into 14 years? Scottish Comedian Michael Herd takes you on his on re-education journey through the land of the hot pot, Terracotta Warriors and marriage markets. Prepare for a re-educating show of high energy laughter from East Kilbride's finest.

Michael Herd is a one-time Shanghai based Scottish stand-up active since 2016. He’s performed all over China and was the founder and host of Shanghai’s weekly Friday Night Laughs at the Park Tavern and was considered a senior comic on the circuit, being a regular at the city’s premier comedy club, Comedy Corner, showcases in the city before finally returning to live in Scotland after 14 years in the Middle Kingdom in the very non-Chinese Scottish city of Perth.

He is also the founder and host of the successful China Lockdown Zoom comedy series Front Tier Comedy, as well as nearby Nanjing’s monthly Saturday Night Laughs. He is described by Billy Connolly’s favourite comedian Des McLean has having “consistently strong material and great delivery” and has opened for top headliners including Phil Kay, Leo Kearse and Comedy Central’s Simeon Goodson as well as top Chinese acts Storm Xu and Norah Yang.

This year we have two entry methods: Free & Unticketed or Pay What You Can
Free & Unticketed: Entry to a show is first-come, first served at the venue - just turn up and then donate to the show in the collection at the end.
Pay What You Can: For these shows you can book a ticket to guarantee entry and choose your price from the Fringe Box Office, up to 30 mins before a show. After that all remaining space is free at the venue on a first-come, first-served bases. Donations for walk-ins at the end of the show.

News and Reviews for this Show

Bobby Carroll's Glasgow Comedy Festival Diary

March 20, 2023   British Comedy Guide

Bobby Carroll's Glasgow Comedy Festival Diary


Every time I go to my Turkish Barbers, he offers to "do" my eyebrows. I have no idea what he wants to do with them. And being the rare two parts of my body I have zero hang-ups about, I'm pretty sure I don't want my eyebrows fucked with. Then I saw a Korean film this week where a baby-for-sale's eyebrows are the main negotiation point for any potential buyer. And here is Chinese stand-up comedian Alvin Liu, who has a whole routine about eyebrows that I couldn't get my head around. Is this the cultural difference that is going to hold me back from being a true global citizen? Just what are the rest of the world's males doing with their eyebrows that I'm not noticing?

Liu's eyebrows routine was not the only time where his comedy of Shanghai origin (but English language) lacked full context. Maybe the unique pleasure of watching him was that, for every national difference he did explain in the set-up, there was another where the Glasgow International Comedy Festival attendees had to pull their weight and join the dots. His opening routine about the rude questions people will ask you in China if they think you have an unusually attractive girlfriend had a lot more clarity than later stuff.

There were also definitely moments over his fledgling 30-minute set when you could feel the liberal British audience's collective arsehole audibly tighten. His best bit, about the benefits of child labour, deserved more laughter. Sure, it could do with beefing up even more; I'd say there's more mileage to it as a subject than he's mapped out currently. But what he has is potent in its imagery, authenticity, perverse logic and volatility.

There are many points where he treads the line of offence with heavy boots. It is easy for newer act to confuse shock with what will work away from open mics and ex-pat gigs. But Liu evidences a decent toolkit, all the gadgets needed to become a circuit comedian of note. His long form stuff always reaches a laugh at the end, and he sells his weirdest material unusually, with his entire torso bent 90 degrees forward, practically crowd surfing the front two rows. Most importantly, and you can't fake this, he is likeable.

Embracing an unforced outsider perspective and being free of the censorial shackles of his homeland, the more credible stage time Liu finds on the London circuit the better he'll be at evolving the best 10 minutes he had here into quite a memorable club 20.

Michael Herd
His partner in this themed two-hander is Michael Herd. They met in East Asia and clearly have continued their gigging friendship back over to Herd's native Scotland. Feeling very much like a teacher who knows his lesson plan down to the very last PowerPoint slide, Herd was less of a natural onstage. His storytelling stuff on Glasgow and East Kilbride life, however, shows a bit more promise. It comes across as less rigid and clearly is the work of an act who has gotten a bit more comfortable whilst on the job.

You can see why he and Liu, who emerged on the People's Republic English speaking circuit together, have shared an hour. Two acts with insider knowledge of the most powerful state in the world should churn up enough interested punters to fill a room. It is a good hook, and it was a good hook. Now this show is done and dusted, Herd probably needs to mothball a lot of his earlier China related material and cut everything down to a solid 10 that will wow in middle spots.

With only two years on stage to develop their craft, and two very particular years of disruption for these toddler comedians containing Covid and across the world upheavals, both acts have ages to find their feet on the UK circuit. Taking these hour slots at festivals is a fine way to stretch the muscles and gift yourself a more generous stage time than a five here or a ten there. And I knew I was taking a blind risk booking in to see two unknowns but they both exceeded my expectations based on what I predicted from their brochure blurb. The show I saw took place in an atmosphere-free room, next to an active pub kitchen, on a wet afternoon, with a 14 year-old kid front and centre... So, hands up, it possibly wasn't the best showcase for either of them... but all acts have to start somewhere on the festival scene. They stuck to their guns and played a less than ideal room professionally and with enthusiasm.

Watching a new act do longform can be a bit like settling into a barber's chair for the first time. You have to sit there and watch them hack away at your head for what can feel like an eternity, hoping they do something not too embarrassing, praying your face doesn't betray too much confusion or horror. I'd definitely give Liu a second chance to play around with my greying temples... but he'll need to stay away from my eyebrows. Click Here For Article