The life of a stand-up comedian is one of fast cars, loose women, and crazy sex; my life is more about slow cars, men and no sex. Let me explain something to you people. Being a stand up comedian is tough. You get little pay, you drink your problems away, and the parties you go to always end up being four dudes sitting around a table drinking baijiu. Tired of this cycle, my fellow comedian, Niko Martinez, asks me, before heading to a party, “How many hot single strippers are gonna be there?” The answer sadly, is always zero. Me, myself, am currently single, or lonely, or bitchless, or sans bitch as the French in France would say.
So how did I get into this profession? I love comedy, whether it’s improv, slapstick, stand up, funny monologues, crazy characters, satire, parody, I love it all. As a matter of fact, I am a big fan of the comedy from Beijing Improv, another comedy troupe here in China. I even tried to be in their annual Beijing improv stand-up competition, back in the day. They didn’t choose me, and to tell you the truth, I am fine about it. It’s something that happened a long time ago, so I feel like I can talk about it now, I mean, we are talking about something that happened 16 months, 12 days and 4 hours ago. But it doesn’t bother me. I am over it, completely over it.
Carlos and the devastatingly handsome Efi Smits (co-founders of Comedy Club China)
Now, I’m the Chief Operating Officer for Comedy Club China and am loving it. My man, Carlos Ottery co-founded CCC back in 2011, but he has been busy making a film, so the day-to-day operations fall on me these days. I put my blood, sweat and tears into the company, and there are a lot of tears, believe me. Like the time I had to eat 10 pies in a day at Two Guys and a Pie. I strut into the pie shop demanding they let me sell tickets to Comedy Club China shows. One of the owners, Matt, says, “sure, but only if you become the Peking Pie King.” The Pie King had to eat the most pies in the shop in a day. I needed to sell the tickets, so I ate 10 pies in 11 hours. See, I suffer for my art.
After that, I had to get a gym membership to work off the calories. Gym memberships in Beijing aren’t cheap, but if you are slick enough, you can sneak into the Ascott gym. Easy stuff, just walk by the receptionist like you belong and no questions are ever asked. I even put a picture of myself on their resident activity board, so employees think I actually live there. All I do is chill by the pool, work out, and make friends. The scam worked, the gym voted me resident of the month for both April and May in 2013.
Being the COO of CCC is no joke. I make it look easy but it is tough work god dammit. You would be surprised to know how difficult it is to make a website. I thought I could just pick anyone off the street and pay him slave wages, like I do my ayi, to build it, but no, they demand lots of hard cash. More than I got anyway.
Anyhow, I digress. Let’s talk about women. All the women coming to the shows all end up being offended by the shit I say. So let me clear this up now, the only reason why I am calling you bitches is because I don’t know none of y’all names. Did I mention that I am single? Anyhow, it is all this that makes me appreciate the company of men so much more. Now I am not saying that I am gay, but I will say that everybody has a gay moment in their life. My, myself, had my gay moment not to long ago in China. I was eating a bowl of alphabet soup, and then I choked on the D. Never again, I told myself, never again.
I am telling you people, life in Beijing for a stand-up comedian is tough, but every time I think about quitting and going home I remember what my mom told me, “In New York there is a saying: if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. In Beijing, there is a similar saying: if you can’t make it here, you can’t make it anywhere.”
Ryan Ha is a comedian, host, and Chief Operating Officer for Comedy Club China.