Hung Le is the self-proclaimed world’s tallest Vietnamese comedian. Often confused with another famous Australian-Vietnamese comedian who “makes people cry while painting them”, Hung’s relationship with the Adelaide Fringe dates back 30 years. Having won Red Faces as a member of “the Como String Quartet”, Hung was riding the waves of fame all those years ago when he thought he’d try his hand at stand up comedy instead of the less lucrative appeal of busking in Rundle Mall.
Hung’s show was filled with hilarious anecdotes about his journey from that first Fringe to this year’s festival. Stories about his robotic girlfriend, buying a Japanese toilet at the height of the Melbourne COVID-19 lockdowns, his thoughts on love coming to you when you least expect it, were all delivered in his inimitable self-deprecating style.
We even got a glimpse into his family’s journey from Vietnam to Australia via a leaky boat in April 1975 at the end of the Vietnam War. Not usually fodder for funny tales, Hung’s sardonic wit manages to find humour even when retelling the story of their escape from ‘Nam. For anyone, like myself, who has read Hung’s book the Crappiest Refugee, some of these tales are familiar. But the story of how his dad ate cornflakes never loses appeal.
Melbourne artists visiting this year’s Fringe have tended to use the extended COVID-19 lockdowns as comedic material, and Hung is no different. We bore witness to how the arts and entertainment industries have been affected by two years of a pandemic, especially for artists such as Hung who made a career on cruise ships. His take on the impact of COVID-19, in fact his whole entertaining routine, was delivered with his heartfelt smarts, aplomb, and a penchant for fake “true facts”.
This is a show not to be missed, playing away from the crowds at the Arthur Arthouse, just before Fiona O’Loughlin’s show. I’d suggest making a night of it and booking in for both shows with two stalwarts of Aussie stand-up comedy. If you don’t, you’ll just have to “suffer in your jocks”.
Adelaide Fringe Review By Kim Burley