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February 23, 2012

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Zapatas stages improv comedy

ONE of Asia's best comedy groups, the Punchline Comedy Club, will give three improv shows in town at Zapatas starting tonight and it is expected to become a regular monthly feature at the expat watering hole.

The routine this time is "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?" The show is totally improv and the audience shouts out emotions, situations and theater and movie styles - and the performers work out the scenes.

"Whose Line" started on BBC Radio 4, making to British TV screens in 1988.

The four-person troupe includes Steve Steen, Stephen Frost, Andy Smart and Ian Coppinger, all known for the TV, stage and various life performances.

John Moorhead, the organizer of the group and its agent, founded the Club in Hong Kong in 1994. The English-language Punchline Comedy Club attracted well-known comedians from Australia, Canada, the United States and the UK. It became a magnet for local comedy-lovers and soon because a monthly fixture of the Hong Kong entertainment scene.

Moorhead himself has appeared on television throughout Asia and the Middle East. He was a presenter for the STAR TV Network, a familiar face on Asian TV.

The Punchline Comedy Club made its debut in China 11 years ago in 2001. The group has performed in Shanghai, Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other cities across the globe.

The Punchline Comedy Club will become a regular monthly show at Zapatas, according to Ian Badenhorst, assistant operations manager of Zapata's Shanghai.

Punchline organizer Moorhead says that for the past 10 years he has studied and worked with all kinds of performers and comedians. When he started the club in the early 1990s in Hong Kong he had to rely on an agent to send him comedians, most of whom he didn't know and whose work was mostly disappointing.

"Expat comedy performers knew little about the expatriate scene in Asia, Asia itself or the significance of there being Asians in the audience," he says.

Moorhead says every show is tailored to the local scene.

"If you can speak English and understand it fluently then you will enjoy this show, whoever you are," the director says.

In addition to staging regular Punchline shows, Moorhead has provided performers and comedians for company events for many years.

Date: February 23, 8pm; February 24-25, 9pm

Venue: Zapata's, 5 Hengshan Rd

Tickets: 290 yuan

Tel: 6474-6628


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