After being contacted “by a mysterious envoy with a briefcase full of unmarked currency,” comedian James Adomian was reluctant to accept an invitation to perform in Seoul.
After the deal was sweetened with an offer for a hotel, he eventually agreed and is set to perform at the amateur comedy club Stand-up Seoul at Rocky Mountain Tavern in Itaewon on Friday and Saturday.
Adomian follows in the footsteps of fellow L.A. comedy scene regular, Kyle Kinane who recommended him to Stand-up Seoul.
Although Adomian has never been here before, he claims that it isn’t his first visit to East Asia.
“I did some fabulous drag shows in the Pyongyang gay bar scene a few years ago,” he told Expat Living.
Stumbling “improbably and clumsily” into the comedy scene, Adomian began doing improv and sketch comedy as many of the greats have done, before falling as he puts it, “ass-first” into stand-up and podcasting.
He said that “people seemed to love this” and with more than 400,000 views for his Funnyordie.com videos it appears he isn’t understating it.
Adomian has gone from strength to comedy strength, with big breaks coming courtesy of long running appearances impersonating George Bush on “The Late Late Show” with Craig Ferguson.
His mastery of the former U.S. president did not go unnoticed and was featured on “MadTV,” “Nick Cannon Presents” and the hit comedy film “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.”
George W. Bush is, however, just one of many that Adomian expertly mocks.
“I’ve impersonated the ‘James Adomian’ character to rave reviews for the last seven years. But all told he’s pretty boring,” he said.
John McCain, Christopher Hitchens, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Orson Welles and Jessie “The Body” Ventura are some of the most notable names, but Adomian often impersonates lesser-known people as well.
“Generally I am for second-tier celebrities, so they tend to be flattered by the attention,” he said.
In 2010, Adomian was thrust into the mainstream American spotlight during a successful streak on the U.S. TV show “Last Comic Standing,” which saw him finish in the top 10.
And the opportunities have kept on coming with two more projects in the works.
“I’ll be appearing on the new ‘Comedy Bang Bang’ TV show on IFC, and releasing a stand-up album this year,” Adomian said.
Adomian also uses the Internet to spread his brand of humor.
“The Internet is an extremely useful tool for a comedian to be seen worldwide by new fans, ignored worldwide by the entertainment industry, and spied on worldwide by extra-legal government surveillance agencies,” he said.
“There is no greater joy than creating your own Wikipedia page and getting away with it because you’re just barely famous enough that they can’t delete it.”
He was famous enough however for Stand-up Seoul to be thoroughly energized at being able to both host and join him onstage.
“It’s a rare opportunity that we have here as expats in Korea to be able to open for a big comic like him. We’re beyond excited,” they said.
The audience here, though, may be somewhat surprised by his idea of the expat community in Seoul.
“My understanding is that they are a collection of outcasts, swindlers and Hemingways of the East, all with eye patches and cigarette holders and manuscripts of Great American Novels in their bags.”
As for his huge variety of comedic skills Adomian will presumably be maintaining his presence online while in Korea but is here primarily to share his stand up.
Out of all his forms of comedy there is no contest to what his preference is.
“Oh, standup, baby, standup all the way,” he said. “Because it’s just me and the audience, and otherwise omnipotent corporate overlords have very little control over live shows.”
Stand-up Seoul expect this show to be a sell-out and to Adomian, all are invited, even the hecklers.
“Too often people sit back and accept my insane ramblings as if they are some kind of truth, so it’s always refreshing to hear a heartfelt, bellowed critique from some drunk in the fourth row,” he said.
“People who come to a comedy show just to laugh are cowards and simpletons. Those in the know let loose with their own instinctive verbal reactions. Comedy is for animals”
To see Adomian in action contact Stand-up Seoul at email@example.com
Stand-up Seoul turns three
Expat comedy club Stand-up Seoul is celebrating its third-anniversary Thursday, having quickly gained a reputation both in the expat community and among traveling comics.
Stand-up Seoul was the first English comedy club in the city and has evolved from a small group of friends into an expat hot spot.
“I remember the first ever Stand-up Seoul show. There was a group of about 10 people just friends of friends and now our show packs the room every month with up to 80 people,” spokesperson Erin Weber said.
Stand-up Seoul holds their main shows on the first Thursday of every month and now conducts performances all across Korea.
The acts are predominantly locals either taking comedy seriously or just wanting to get up and try something new.
The club has now, however, started to attract more established international comedians. James Adomian will be the fourth professional comic Stand-up Seoul has brought to Korea in what is quickly becoming a trend.
“We hope to continue to bring over two big acts a year. We’d also like to make Seoul a top destination for comedians looking to do an Asian tour or just wanting to do a good show in a really entertaining place,” Erin said.
Stand-up Seoul takes place at the Rocky Mountain Tavern in Itaewon. For more information on upcoming events contact firstname.lastname@example.org
By Hamish MacDonald