If you like to set yourself challenges, take some inspiration from this Irish chap. Des Bishop decided a few years ago that, after learning enough of the Gaelic language to perform stand up comedy, he wanted to do the same with the Chinese language. So, off he went to China with the aim of learning enough of it to perform comedy over there – within a year. And now he’s at the Fringe talking about his journey, how he spent a year and a half in China, and how it’s now in his soul, and he won’t leave it.
It’s a great idea for a show, and he works it very well. You see many many comedians doing shows about thoughts in their heads and complaining about their lives, and voicing stories about what they’ll do in situations and the like, but then you have Bishop devoting a whole comedy show to a cultural journey he’s been on, and not only is he very funny, but also incredibly passionate. When a comedian has put himself through such an ambitious task to bring us an hour comedy show (as well as learning the language) you can’t help but admire them, not matter what they’re like.
Bishop is also very Irish, and likes to remind us of this. For those who see him for the first time or have only briefly heard of him, it will be quite a surprise to see just how popular he is with Irish crowds. Most of the audience of his show were Irish, and there were many times he referred to the culture and humour of Ireland that may not be as funny for English and Scottish audiences, but it is wonderful to see how enthusiastic he and his followers are about their country. If you’re Irish and at the Fringe this month, chances are this show might be the best show you’ll see here.
Throughout his show Bishop talks about so many different things he learned and saw in China, and it’s eye-opening to see the extent of variation and diversity that exists in the world’s largest country. From learning to write the language, the four ‘tones’ of pronunciation, being a ‘welcomer’ in a restaurant, getting involved with a Chinese Heavy Metal band, right up to appearing on China’s version of Take Me Out, Bishop has clearly had a fantastic experience and insightful experience of a truly spectacular country.
Bishop’s show is insightful, enthusiastically told and he comes across as very knowledgeable, passionate and thoroughly, thoroughly Irish. For Irish people – you’ll absolutely love this. If you’re not Irish, it’s a culture heavy show that’s both touching and hysterical, but prepare not to understand some jokes quite as much as the Irish people crying with laughter around you.
Des Bishop: Made In China is on at the Pleasance Dome in Edinburgh until 24th August.