He’s a kiwi born Asian man with wit and intelligence and a strong sense of social justice. With those credentials I was eager to see Raybon Kan perform live.
So, April 28th I joined a small and intimate crowd to watch him deliver his new show Positive Pessimist. As I suspected, he was intelligent, charming, and delivered a series of observations about life, kiwiana and race that were spot on and incisive.
This was a funny show, and I laughed through most of it, but this wasn’t your usual type of comedy show. There wasn’t a transformative moment that leaves an audience reeling. Rather it was a slow burn of a show with clever witticisms and observations but I think many of them went over the audiences head for some reason.
I’m not sure why that was, perhaps this particular audience wasn’t really ‘getting’ it that night. It was Friday after all and maybe they expected a ‘leave you rolling in the aisles’ kind of show.
I suspect however it’s because Kan is a satirist, and his humour needs to be savoured. He is on point in an intellectual way – not in the rollicking bawdy way we often get used to with stand-up. Interestingly the biggest reactions he got were towards the end of the show when he delivered some crude but none-the-less very funny jokes.
In the show Kan did say he’d suffered from a writing block for many months but was now emerging again. I’m glad he did, because he is the kind of satirist this country needs.