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Review: Jenny Tian – Chinese Australian: A Tale of Internet Fame at The Comedy Store

Review by Cynthia Ning

The Sydney Comedy Festival 2024 has been a whirlwind of laughter and refreshments, featuring local and international talent eagerly performing their latest batch of jokes.  

The cold wind, bad traffic and wave of AFL fans did not stop us from attending Jenny Tian’s sold-out show, with people rotating in and out like a revolving door to watch their favourite comedian and discuss their favourite moments. 

We were ushered into the well-loved space and immediately ran to the back seats for fear of being picked on during the show to participate (we were right). Jenny opened with a brief but intimate glance at her dating life, giving us visuals on some of her feed which consisted of topless men doing various jobs while looking hot. The crowd lapped up the playbacks on the screens and did not shy away from bantering with her during audience participation.

Her humble beginnings as a budding comedian began when she attended UNSW O-Week and watched Ronny Chieng perform live back in 2013. This sparked a fire within her to pursue an unconventional career in the world of performing arts, only after years of going down the ‘safe route’ before taking the plunge and putting her work on social media during the midst of a worldwide pandemic. 

Tian used the screens to highlight her claim to fame on social media, PowerPoint skills and work experience as a Management Consultant. She acknowledged that her marketing degree has come in use, by following The Marketing Rule of 7 and giving us 7 points of exposure to sell her bucket hat. 

With gradual traction on Tik Tok during the pandemic, confusing and amusing overseas viewers with her Australian accent and casual Aussie slang, ‘Yeah Nah’, it showed the dark side of the internet with unprovoked, racially charged comments. But it also paved the way for brand partnerships. Explicitly saying she had not watched the show Gruen at the time of filming an ad for them.

Jenny went through the show with a natural pace, landing each beat and pause while working the room. We had a delightful super fan sitting next to us belly laughing at every joke. It was rewarding to see the payoffs of her memory trail sprinkled in the set, with emphasis on mental health as she touched on the negativity and racism that she experienced as someone who wanted to bring laughter to people’s everyday lives. 

Taking the leap and sending that email to one of your heroes can be nerve wracking, there is a desire to express gratitude for how they helped shaped pivotal aspects of your life tied together with hesitancy of being too overbearing. But you never know until you try. 

This full circle moment happened to Jenny, 10 years after seeing Ronny Chieng at his comedy special in UNSW O-Week as a fan to then opening for him at his 2023 Australian tour.

It was heart-warming to see the crowd of people in the room from similar backgrounds supporting Jenny wholeheartedly, being the funny, relatable and persevering Chinese Australian Comedian in the entertainment space.

Suffice to say, her marketing technique worked, and I ended up with a bucket hat and a smile.

Jenny Tian is one to watch on tour and TaskMaster Australia. Catch her on Thursday nights on Network 10 and 10 Play. 

Image supplied


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