I began my Asian adventure in 1996. I began my comedy adventure somewhat later.
At the time, I didn’t know that I would end up living in Asia permanently or indeed I would become involved with comedy at all.
My first port of arrival was Hong Kong. I flew out on Friday, the 13th (something my mother thought was hilarious, me not so much).
An old friend Andrew Brown – who knew I was bored at my producer’s job with West Country TV in Plymouth UK – contacted me and offered me his old job.
Up until my fateful phone call from Andrew, I had been employed as a radio and TV producer for over 10 years.
I started my career as an intern at Devon Air Radio where I won a scholarship to attend the now-defunct National Broadcasting School in Greek Street, Soho.
After a short foray into newspaper tabloid journalism [I will do another blog post about my gruesome and sometimes hilarious stories from that time], I eventually moved full time into radio and television work.
When Andrew called me, I was at a point in my life where I decided I wanted an adventure.
So, a week later, I hopped on a plane and arrived in Hong Kong to become a producer of video content for a new museum opening up (The Science Museum in Kuala Lumpur).
Almost immediately, I was sent on a plane to KL for a month to oversee. The people in KL were super friendly but I couldn’t wait to get back to the spine tingling buzz of HK
I loved Hong Kong. I felt it was my true alma mater, the swashbuckling “anything is possible” nature of the city had me spell-bound.
HK is exciting, vibrant and the fact that the old airport Kai Tak was situated in the middle of the city always made me laugh.
It was as if saying, “We’re so bloody busy working in Hong Kong that the airport must be located right next to the office so we can just run off the plane and start work immediately.”
The plane landing was so scary – flying so low over buildings and short a short landing run way – you touchdown full of adrenaline and raring to go.
In fact, the day that Kai Tak airport closed down, I went took some photographs to pay my respects and say goodbye.
Anyway, back to comedy.
Up until this point, although I was born and bred in London, I had grown up primarily in Devon where the family had moved after my father John Deane Potter retired after his illustrious career as a journalist and world-famous author.
Devon as beautiful as it is, is very sleepy and back then did not have a live comedy scene.
One day, my friends in Hong Kong dragged me along to watch a live stand-up comedy performance put on by Punchline Comedy.
It was my first experience of live stand-up comedy. And it blew my mind, literally.
It felt like I was having an intellectual orgasm.
I could not believe what people were getting away with saying on stage. It was both hilarious, offensive, mind blowing and incredibly outrageous.
I loved every minute.
From that moment on, I was hooked, and went to Punchline Comedy every month without fail.
I lived in Hong Kong for approximately 3 ½ years before moving to Singapore.
Strangely enough, some former Hong Kong-ites who also used to go to Punchline Comedy in Hong Kong, had set up their own comedy nights called “One Night Stand” in Clarke Quay, Singapore.
Without batting an eyelid, I went to those shows every month and dragged as many friends as I could to experience the joys of live stand-up comedy.
One thing that changed in Singapore though, was I went from being as a distant admirer in the audience of the shows to talking to the comedians.
I became to be a “fan boy”.
At first, I was nervous to talk to them, but a friend challenged me: “You like comedy so much why don’t you go and talk to these guys. Don’t be such a pussy.”
From that moment on, I got to know many of the comedians that performed in SG including Jonathan Atherton who was the first comedian I brought over to India.
I also brought over several other comedians (who I also became friends with), to my shows in India, Singapore and elsewhere.
In the next part of my journey into comedy, I describe how I took a sojourn to live and work Bombay to work as a Television Consultant where my love for comedy, saw me transition from Audience Member/Fan Boy to actual promoter.
∙ Authored by Quilliam Potter
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