BUSAN, South Korea — This stand-up comedy scene has seen itself expand over the past few years with the popularity of both Standup Seoul and Busan’s own Ha-Ha Hole growing with each gig. The quality and draw of expat comedy has even managed to attract a number of bigger names from back home; heavyweight jokester Ted Alexandro’s visit last September being the most prominent. Now it’s time for another professional to visit the rocky shores of this here peninsula: the very funny, and highly irreverent, Mr. Danny Cho.
Danny Cho hails from Los Angeles, California, where he grew up among the massive Korean-American population that calls the City of Angels home. He’s actually never even been to Korea before, but, as an emerging comedian on the Hollywood scene, he figured a trip here wouldn’t just be a good way to connect with the land of his parents, but also a terrific opportunity to perform in front of brand new audiences.
“I have no idea what to expect,” he told me over a late-night facebook exchange. “Every time I hear stories of Korea I get so jealous. So I’m going to make sure my friends’ stories were true.”
Cho is a graduate of UCLA, who got into comedy after winning a $500-prize talent show on a dare. He’s a regular in all of the big Southern California clubs, and has shared the stage with luminaries such as Dave Chappelle, Russell Peters, and Lisa Lampanelli, as well appearing on “Mad TV,” “Parks and Recreation,” and other programs. He’s thankful for comedy, since he claims it rescued him from a lifetime toiling as a business consultant, “working 100 plus hours a week sitting in a cubicle and staring at spreadsheets and reports. Exciting, right?”
Danny Cho is a razor sharp comic who is now really coming into his voice. His material is cracker-jack smart, yet with a solid finger on pop culture and all the absurdities that exist side-by-side in modern America. He is an equal opportunity offender, cracking jokes about he size of Koreans’ heads to the way black people talk when they lose their temper (“Everything out of their mouths sounds like a question,” he remarks.). His humor is self-deprecating yet full of pride. He’s one of those guys, who, onstage, always manages to bring us all closer together.
As far as his influences, he says that his “first comedy influence was Bernie Mac. He was funny with pure swagger.” He also gives huge respect to Dave Chappelle, who Cho describes as “always brilliant. He is a master story teller.”
When it comes to Korean food, his “absolute favorite is galbi jjim. If a woman knows how to make that just like my mom’s I’d marry her – even if she was heinous and had a criminal rap sheet.” In fact, there isn’t one Korean dish that Danny Cho doesn’t like. “I can and will eat practically anything. Look at my body for reference.”
He’s trying to stay away from the soju these days, however, so don’t expect him to go on a C-1 binge after the show. When pressed, though, he did admit that he could probably take down three bottles, max, if he had to. “Any more than that and I’m waking up naked.”
Let’s hope he keeps his clothes on, for everyone’s sake.
Danny Cho appears Saturday, June 25th at 8pm, at HQ Bar’s 4th floor Living Room. Tickets are 10,000 won and can only be purchased at the door, so come early to get a good seat, because they are limited! With Jeff Sinclair, Sam Hazelton, Roy Early, and Sir David Scraggs. Hosted by Chris Tharp. For mor info on the show go here.