Things have been moving rather quickly for Tien Tran. After competing in RAW in 2011 and being in the MICF Comedy Zone last year, he has taken the next step and put on his debut solo show. Have things been moving too fast for Tran? Possibly.
Tran covered the topics that most twenty-somethings talk about; Weed, laziness and porn amongst them. These were topics that he easily milked laughs from but at times it was almost like shooting fish in a barrel. He also included some interesting views on child-rearing, front lawns and religion that were surprising and hilarious.
In an effort to differentiate himself from all the white middle-class performers out there, he explored some serious topics such as immigration and racism with which he was able give a slightly different perspective by being an Australian born of Vietnamese descent. There were some unique and amusing ideas amongst these topics but he often provided straight opinion and fact instead of jokes, leaving us agreeing with him rather than laughing.
Most of his material was structured in a way where he would run with an idea to its logical conclusion. This worked some of the time, taking them to genuinely unexpected places, but often the punch lines could be predicted ahead of time. He also had the habit of continuing past the actual punchline, ending on a whimper rather than a bang. The result was a hour whose laughs were patchy.
On stage, Tran is personable with a slight hip hop edge (he did name his show after a Biggy Smalls lyric after all). He had the audience hanging on his every word even through the lulls.
This was an enjoyable hour in spite of his rookie mistakes. There are lots of fertile ideas in his set, some that already work but others which have plenty of potential with some retooling. Tran has a unique voice and is definitely a performer to keep an eye on.
If You Don’t Know, Now You Know is on at The Forum – Carpet Room until April 20