A 14 minute video from the tour is at the
bottom of the page.
Thursday, June 28, 2007 KST 23:13
expats enjoy U.S. comics
American comedians Perry Kurtz, left, and Kurt
Green perform before a crowd of about 85 people at
B1 Lounge in Itaewon, central Seoul, Sunday.
Giggles, chuckles and
full-throated belly laughs filled an underground bar
thick with smoke in the bustling Itaewon district on
Sunday evening. Along with a yell ? “Yeehaa!”
This was supposedly a southern American expression
meaning an enthusiastic “yes” according to American
comedian Perry Kurtz, who asked the audience to yell
back in response to his funny questions. The same yell
was used by the audience to show displeasure with some
of his jokes.
Kurtz and Kurt Green performed at the B1 Lounge, where
around 85 people from the expatriate community filled
the room and enjoyed being an audience for a standup
comedy show in English, a rare entertainment event
even in this most foreigner-frequented part of Seoul.
Admission was 35,000 won ($38).
Most in the audience seemed to understand the jokes
from Kurtz and Green, who both projected an image of a
fast-mouthed bad boy throughout each of their
40-minute, one-man shows. Despite the range of
languages, both comics later called the crowd an
“intelligent audience,” meaning they understood the
Robert Miller, a 44-year-old businessman from Dallas,
Texas, said the show was familiar to him. “I enjoyed
it very much, just like comedy clubs back in the
United States,” Miller said.
Some of the non-Americans in the audience, despite
their long exposure to American culture in the global
era, had a hard time understanding some of the comics’
“It was not easy to catch some of the jokes,” said Lim
Do-kyeong, a 26-year-old Korean working as an English
teacher at a private language institute. It was not a
waste of time and money, though, Lim said.
“I’ve seen standup comedy only on television,” Lim
said. “Here I saw one comedian making people laugh for
almost an hour, using only his mouth. It’s a nice
experience,” she said.
The two comedians, who first teamed up nine years ago,
flew to Korea last week for several performances,
including a number at U.S. military posts.
They spent the previous week in Japan, entertaining at
U.S. bases there.
Kurtz is from Los Angeles and is a former erotic
dancer. Green is from Georgia and is an Army veteran.
Both have had colorful careers as comedians, including
appearances in television and movies.
The one-night show in Itaewon, arranged by BH
Productions, will be memorable, they said. “This, to
me, was the best show that we’ve had, because we
didn’t have to explain anything,” Kurtz said after the
He said they had a hard time during the military base
performances, because some soldiers were drunk and
they had to explain a lot more jokes.
“We had more intellectual crowds here. Teachers,
diplomats, things like that,” Green said. “In the
States, there are more farmers and truck drivers. You
never know who’s in the audience. So it’s a lot more
intellectual. This is a lot better.”
Funny as it may sound, they said most of the stories
they use for their comedy are based on actual events -
although sometimes they will exaggerate.
They often incorporate events where they have been
hurt or ridiculed for their material or routines.
“When we have bad things in our life, we talk about
it. And if they laugh, they feel better,” Kurtz said,
“because we are the ones hurt, not them.”
Both men enjoy their work and the pleasure it brings
to the audience.
“We get a chance to escape everything going on outside
the world around us for that little 40- or 45- minute
gap,” Green said. “I could be behind in my mortgage,
my wife leaving me ? whatever. But for those 45
minutes, I get to block that out. I don’t have to
think about that.”
And that is the moment that the comedians treasure
“The only time in our lives when we really feel we are
doing what we’re born to do is when we make people
laugh,” Kurtz said. “It is the most unbelievably
rewarding thing that I’ve ever known, because when you
are in front of an audience that is laughing, they
On Monday, when Kurtz, 56, heads back to Los Angeles,
it will mark the 30th anniversary of his comedy
Asked if he plans a special celebration, Kurtz shook
his head. “As long as I get paid for doing this, as
long as I am allowed to do what I love, it’s special,”
Kurtz said. “It’s always special. Every show is just
as special as the last one.”
Here are some tips that Kurtz shared for those tired
of boring other people. “It’s important to let
yourself out,” Kurtz said. “Don’t take things too
seriously. Try to laugh over things. Make fun of
yourself. If you fall down, your friends will ask.
‘Boys, do I look funny?’ Then they are going to go,
‘Yeah!’ You all feel better together. And that keeps
By Moon Gwang-lip Staff