🎤A Cantonese-speaking Indian walks into a comedy club...
LoTW: The Many Faces of Vivek Mabubahni (yes, you've seen him before - he's everywhere)
Hey High Tiiiiiiide!
I’m Vivek 啊V - bi-lingual stand up comedian born, raised and made-in-Hong-Kong. This, of course, means I'm constantly having to prove myself when prompted with a "tell me a joke" request in both languages - English and Cantonese.
I grew up admiring the awesomeness and simplicity of stand up comedy and unlike normal people who have bucket lists like "skydiving" or "see the world", mine ended up with "make strangers laugh". In 2007 I gave comedy a shot and kept at it just for fun. Today, this is my full-time career, yet I'm still confused when my parents tell people that I am this family's biggest joke.
Professionally, I'm all about efficiency, so my company name is the same as mine:
Oddly, this makes it really awkward when I have to sign documents where it says Vivek Mahbubani, Director, Vivek Mahbubani making people worry if I have a split personality or just have some sort of Donald Trump complex where I love to see my name everywhere.
If you like anything you see here, follow me across socials!
I’ve also got a show coming up in December at Ocean Park, read on below to find out more!
Tell me a joke?
My whole job is a joke. There's no other profession that is constantly challenged like stand up comedy.
When was the last time someone said "oh you're a lawyer? Sue me!"? Luckily, real life experiences like this is what I take and turn into my comedy routine.
The good thing is, since I'm bi-lingual, I can even do the same bit in Cantonese! Youtube video (Cantonese version of same story):
Growing up, I had to often resort to using humour to get me out of sticky and sometimes even violent situations. After all, going to an all boys' school meant you either save yourself by way of fist or by way of funny. As almost all my classmates were Chinese, I very often felt out-of-place but eventually being the odd one out felt the most normal to me.
I couldn't follow the herd and go with what just worked for everyone, so I cheekily concluded that the opposite of what works for my classmates to be suitable for me. Is everyone studying for the exam? Then I guess I'll have to slack off for this to work for me. Everyone getting full-time jobs that make sense and is easy to get family-approval? I'll go entertain people in dark bars and basements.
Comedy is funny “ha ha”, come on what else is interesting?
When people say "I've seen you work" I have to clarify which angle they're talking about. Other than stand up comedy and IT, I'm actually an MMA Ring Announcer.
So one night you may see me holding a mic and making you giggle, the next night, you'll see me holding the same mic, but making your roar!
And if that wasn't enough, I've been invited to speak at multiple TEDx events
So I guess people are taking my funny stuff...seriously?
Also, what many people may not know is I started off as a freelance web developer. I guess somehow IT found me.
I studied Creative Media in City University of Hong Kong and experienced my first freelance project when a teacher asked me if I was willing to put together a massive interactive photo gallery system for HK$500 (this is why they don't teach money management in design schools, how can the world survive if there are no starving artists?!)
I asked the teacher what time I had to arrive at my desk in his office and he explained to me that in the world of freelance work, the only thing you need to worry about is finishing before the deadline. Once I realized I could make a living without a suit nor 8am alarms, I knew this was my calling.
Till today, I still help some of my OG clients with their website updates and management although I have to keep reminding them that the number on my invoice is not a punchline, that's my other hustle.
(Editor’s Note: More disclosures - Harbour Times is one of Vivek’s OG clients…that means he controls all my emails).
Lucky for me, my IT skills translated into my comedy world during the pandemic and I learned how to live-stream virtual events right from my home studio.
Funny stuff to go support
This a group co-founded by another comedian called Tim Chan because we felt it's time the Cantonese scene became more than "a bunch of people having fun".
Hall of Laughs organizes Cantonese open mic nights and comedy shows regularly to encourage HongKongers to not only believe that life is still funny, but to also have a platform to showcase that.
Humour along my Hairline - Vivek Mahbubani's solo English show
Every year I like to throw myself in the deep end with a "I have no idea how this will work" challenge in my comedy career.
Previous ones have included booking my solo Cantonese show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (of all places), doing a 1000+ show on a cruise ship where not everyone spoke English, and hosting the YouTube Fanfest in Hong Kong where I had to interact with a crowd that’s never seen me in 3D.
This year I've lined up my solo English comedy show at the Applause Pavilion in Ocean Park!
It's the same venue that big names like Jim Jeffries have performed in and this time I'm using the ticking timebomb that is my receding hairline as a reason to do my solo show so people can at least one day say "I saw him when he was still hairy!"
Tickets available here.
Vivek’s Got a Secret
Do you think performers have it easy? Maybe. Maybe not, Vivek performs in just about every possible field - what do you think his biggest fears are?
Paid Subscribers know….
Today’s Paid Subscribers get a secret 20% discount code for Vivek’s solo show.