A 14 minute video from the tour is at
the bottom of the page.
Thursday, June 28, 2007 KST 23:13
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,
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 jokes.
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 home-grown humor.
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,
Ive seen standup comedy only on television, Lim said. Here I saw
one comedian making people laugh for almost an hour, using only his
mouth. Its 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.
They spent the previous week in Japan, entertaining at U.S. bases
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 weve
had, because we didnt have to explain anything, Kurtz said after
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
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 whos in the audience. So its 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
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,
Both men enjoy their work and the pleasure it brings to the
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 dont have to think
And that is the moment that the comedians treasure most.
The only time in our lives when we really feel we are doing what
were born to do is when we make people laugh, Kurtz said. It is
the most unbelievably rewarding thing that Ive ever known, because
when you are in front of an audience that is laughing, they love
On Monday, when Kurtz, 56, heads back to Los Angeles, it will mark
the 30th anniversary of his comedy career.
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, its special, Kurtz said. Its 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. Its important to let yourself out, Kurtz said. Dont
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 people connected.
By Moon Gwang-lip Staff Writer
Click here for