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Esther Chen Tries Her Fortune at Standup Comedy in Taiwan and the U.S. Ep 158

By Felicia Lin

A note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:

Esther Chen is a Taiwanese American actress and comedian. We spoke about how she got into doing standup comedy, worked with Jerry Seinfeld, and ended up back in Taiwan during the pandemic. Esther shared how she’s had to adjust her standup comedy material to suit the different tastes of audiences in Taiwan, other parts of Asia, and the U.S.

While in Taiwan Esther started doing standup comedy more regularly and got recognized by fans. She also talked about the very Taiwanese experiences of going to see a fortune teller for advice about her career in acting and comedy, and the criticism that she and her family have received from Taiwanese discussion forums in response to her comedy.

**A quick note to listeners about the audio quality of this episode. There were some issues with the first 8-9 minutes of this interview. We tried our best to improve them so please bear with us and know that the issues resolve at around the 10 minute mark.**

Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:

  • How she got interested in doing standup comedy
  • What it was like for her to work with Jerry Seinfeld
  • How she comes up with material for her standup comedy
  • Why she moved back to Taiwan during the pandemic and what she did while she was there
  • Her Chinese Mandarin language podcast 好戲開場: It’s Showtime!
  • How humor in English is different than humor in Mandarin Chinese
  • How she had to adjust her standup comedy for audiences in Taiwan vs. New York
  • How her jokes about China were received outside of Taiwan i.e. Malaysia
  • How she hears Taiwan-related news from Ken and Kylie, the hosts of the 百靈果New Podcast (aka, K.K. Show)
  • The segment that John Oliver did on his HBO show, Last Week Tonight about Taiwan
  • Enes Kanter’s tweet boycotting the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and the Freedom Shoes with the words “No Beijing 2022” “Move the Games” “No Rights No Games” on them
  • How moving back to Taiwan during the pandemic pushed Esther to try new things with her standup comedy
  • How working in Taiwan compares with working in New York or the U.S.
  • When she’s going to be performing standup in New York
  • How she handles stress and anxiety
  • The criticism Esther and her family has received from Taiwanese discussion forums in response to her comedy
  • How her parents have reacted to her work as an actress and comedian
  • What happened when Esther went to see a fortune teller and asked if she should continue with a career in acting and comedy
  • What advice Esther has for anyone thinking of doing standup comedy
  • The standup comedy bit that Esther did about the Atlanta Spa Shootings

 

Related Links:

 

Esther Chen’s website: https://theestherchen.com/

 

Esther Chen’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSSwvFt745Nprj15_4JuVFQ

 

Esther Chen on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theestherchen_/

 

Esther Chen on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theestrchen

 

2 min Coronavairus Comedy + Science Show Highlights (from Esther’s YouTube channel): https://youtu.be/jnosptqjpRg

 

 

Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill | Secret Agent Promo (YouTube clip): https://youtu.be/b7f1asbYiug

 

Taiwan: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): https://youtu.be/9Y18-07g39g

 

Enes Kanter’s tweet boycotting the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and the Freedom Shoes with the words “No Beijing 2022” “Move the Games” “No Rights No Games” on them

 

Esther’s Mandarin language podcast 好戲開場: It’s Showtime on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/tw/podcast/%E5%A5%BD%E6%88%B2%E9%96%8B%E5%A0%B4-its-showtime/id1528890755

 

Esther’s Mandarin language podcast 好戲開場: It’s Showtime on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/1ozX7ijuXNZaDVXoFTxRp6?si=9691a65010844bbd

 

March 16, 2021 Atlanta Spa Shootings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Atlanta_spa_shootings

 

About the Host

Felicia Lin is the Host and Producer of Talking Taiwan, a podcast which seeks to introduce you to interesting stories connected to Taiwan and the diverse individuals who make up Taiwan’s global community.

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