"Birth of a nASIAN"
is an evening of contemporary comic monologues by Kate Rigg, accompanied by
violinist Lyris Hung. Rigg describes it as "a combination of Def Poetry
Jam and Def Comedy Jam, with a decidedly Asian slant." Kate Rigg is a "bad
girl" comedian of Indonesian/Australian descent whose material satirizes
Asian stereotypes with youthful abrasiveness. Now (Toronto) called her "the
most fearless, talented and versatile comedian of colour since Whoopi Goldberg
and John Leguizamo."
Time Magazine (Carole Buia)
reported in August, 2001 that Rigg had become a staple of the NYC comedy scene
with the success of her "Chink-O-Rama," a "postmodern variety
show complete with Asian fly girls, disco music and outrageous sketches."
That show also featured song-and-dance parodies with a political punch and became
widely known through productions at Joe's Pub and Caroline's. "Birth of
a nASIAN," a much more theatrical work, is her first show since then. In
it, Ms. Rigg's humor shifts from broad musical parodies to character comedy
combined with spoken word trip-hop. Rigg plays a "Token-Asian" newscaster,
an Indian housewife-turned-dominatrix, a Chinas y Criollas girl form the 'hood,
and a panoply of other wild urban characters. It's about the AmerAsian identity
as seen through the artist's eyes, deepening the issues that are raised in "Chink-O-Rama."
Lyris Hung, on electronic violin, creates a multi-leveled soundscape for the
show and also performs in tandem with Rigg in the trip-hop pieces.
Backstage (Amelia David)
wrote, "Move over, Whoopi Goldberg, John Leguizamo, and Tracy Ullman. All
I can say is, why is this unique talent not already being featured in her own
HBO or Comedy Central cable special, or on 'SNL' or 'MadTV?'" Asian Week
(Ji Hyun Lim) characterized "Chink-O-Rama" as a show whose wildly
satirical, adroit language "takes identity politics to the next level."
Kate Rigg was raised in urban Canada and
spent 3 years in Melbourne Australia where she won the Melbourne Comedy Festival
Award, two experimental writing awards, and the Best of the Fringe Performance
Award. She then moved to NYC to attend the Juilliard School's Drama Division,
where she won the Interarts Award for interdisciplinary performance/production.
Since graduation five years ago, she has been performing character comedy
in New York and L.A. (Carolines on Broadway, Gotham, Boston, Joe's Pub, The
Improv etc.) In that time she also wrote a musical, "Pictures
of Dorian Gray" (National Musical Theater Conference participant, workshopped
at the Manhattan Theater Club), two comic operas performed at The Clark Studio
Theater at Lincoln Center, "A Suite for Fat Girls" and "Club
Kid Cantata"; a play for young audiences, "The Phoenix Rides A Skateboard"
which premiered in Toronto at Theater Passe Muraille, and the song cycle "Songs
For Mr. Sister" which is being optioned by Illyria Theater in New York.
Ms. Rigg's first one-woman
show "m/OTHER/land" was produced in New York, Toronto, and Melbourne,
Australia. "Chink-O-Rama" premiered at PSNBC and ran at the New York
International Fringe Festival, Joe's Pub, The HBO/Time Warner Workspace in Los
Angeles, Buddies Theater in Toronto and The Brava Theater Center in San Francisco.
"Birth of a nASIAN" was workshopped at PSNBC, The Penumbra Theater
in Minneapolis and The Buddies in Bad Times Theater in Toronto. She is regularly
asked to host events and strange competitions like Drag Queen Pageants and Sing
Along Sound Of Music nationally. She is a producer of BIG TIT, an all female
comedy jam. She has appeared at the Montreal Comedy Festival, Toyota Comedy
Festival and Toronto's "We're Funny that Way Festival".
Her acting credits include
Paul Rudnick's "The Most Fabulous Story Every Told," Jessica Hagedorn's
"Dogeaters," roles on "OZ," "Law and Order," "The
Guiding Light," "Wonderland," "CTV-Comedy Now," "NBC's
Late Friday," four national commercials, the pilot "The Human Race,"
and the pilot "Kings of Comedy Primetime" for Fox TV.
Lyris Hung is a graduate of both Columbia
University and the Juilliard School. She has recorded performed and toured
extensively with a wide range of ensembles and soloists including: The Absolut
Ensemble, the New Juilliard Ensemble, BonoVox, Bryan Adams, Ornette Coleman
and Suzanne Vega. In addition to playing the violin and electric violin,
she also composes, musical directs and improvises performance works. She
produced the Manhattan Brass Quintet's album "Manhattan project"
and is a regular member of NYC bands Quasilulu, the Mila Drumke Band, Dan Zanes,
and Slanty Eyed Mama (with Kate Rigg). She has performed in clubs all over
the city and is a very in demand session player.
Kate Rigg & Lyris Hung