Born in America, Irish-bred and currently residing in China, it’s a safe bet that Des Bishop has a diverse collection of experiences and stories to share. This interesting and uncommon amalgamation certainly gives his brand of comedy a unique voice and far-flung quality.
Made in China is a highly enjoyable and fascinating look at Des Bishop’s journey of not only enveloping himself in the culture and ways of the Chinese but also his efforts to break into the country’s inconspicuous comedy circuit.
Made in China is part travel documentary and part cultural lesson with some well-executed comedic moments seamlessly weaved in as well. Over the past year Bishop has been living in China with the aim to immerse himself in the culture, learn the language and ultimately perform a stand up show in Mandarin. Fans of Bishop will know he embarked on a similar project in Ireland.
Throughout the course of the hour, we are treated to clips from his time in the most populated country in the world. He expresses how immensely difficult learning Mandarin is, even giving the audience an impromptu lesson on the four tones you would need to master. Failure to do so often results in a miscommunication of comically awkward proportions; he illustrates this fittingly through his adopted Chinese name which also carries an obscene meaning if said incorrectly.
Bishop does master the language in the end and we witness him communicating effortlessly not just on film but at opportune moments during the show as well. If there are Chinese members in the audience, he makes an effort to converse with them in Mandarin which I thought was a nice touch.
While Bishop emphasizes that the show doesn’t rely on Chinese stereotypes, these do inevitably crop up from time to time. Although the intention is not to be a source for ridicule, admittedly his impersonations are uncannily accurate. His focus however is to dispel the more common myths, giving the audience new meaning to them based on his experience. He also shares instances where he himself has been the subject of discrimination - this is a welcome addition to his set, showing that prejudice is very much two-way.
Made in China is a highly enjoyable and fascinating look at Des Bishop’s journey of not only enveloping himself in the culture and ways of the Chinese but also his efforts to break into the country’s inconspicuous comedy circuit. Bishop is a charismatic and captivating comedian so this show will easily entertain and provide some refreshing insight along the way too.