Shout-Outs to Critic Chien
In keeping with this week’s theme of hustling, I would like to dedicate this week’s shout-out to Critic Chien
Critic emailed me one day out of the blue and asked to be profiled on the PPT blog. I was pretty busy at the time and told him I’d get back to him when things slowed down. Well, after a week or so, he went ahead and followed up politely, and even submitted a self-made interview of himself, making my job effortless.
I respected his enthusiasm, and thought it was a great tangible example of the kind of hustling we talked about in this week’s theory post.
So here you go, Critic Chien’s self-made profile. As a disclaimer, I will re-iterate that everything past this point was written by Critic with some editing for length and punctuation by me.
Who is Critic Chien?
Comedian Critic has alienated people in a self indulgent attempt to express himself a priority above making them laugh. He has appeared on “Its Twisted Television” (cable access) and was recently shown several times briefly on Last Comic Standing (with two speaking lines!) Unfortunately, that’s is the sum total of his televised credits. The rest of his comedic resume leaves much to be desired.
Why do you go by the name Critic and who were your influneces?
I got the name Critic during criminal justice class in high school. I was always giving people my view on things and talking trash. One day, this guy was like “YOooooo Critic” pronounced “Cri Dick” because according to him “I had an opinion on everything.” The name stuck in class and I use it because I’m sick of people mispronouncing my last name. It’s also a cheap marketing trick so people remember me.
I am mostly influenced by rappers and pro-wrestlers. Big L and The Rock if you want to drop names. I love how rappers, pro-wrestlers, and comedians establish legitimacy with the crowd by being able to confidently pull off absurdity. Whether it’s a punchline, an elbow drop, or dropping Beamer, Benz, or Bentley during a recession; it’s all the same game.
Who are your favorite comedians?
I look up to George Carlin as the GOAT but consider Mitch Hedberg the funniest comedian ever. I am probably the only comedian who can admit to not getting Richard Pryor at all despite my love for Paul Mooney (who wrote for Pryor), Eddie Murphy, and Dave Chapelle. Currently, I enjoy Doug Stanhope, Maria Bamford, Aziz Ansari, Hannibal Buress, Eugene Mirman, and Anthony Jeselnik.
What made you decide to go into stand up comedy?
There is a long back story to this but I feel its necessary. I always loved making people laugh. In 6th grade, my teacher would let me act out sketches and routines from SNL and “House of Buggin” (John Leguizamo’s sketch show which was the Latino predecessor to In Living Color). Fast forward to high school where I was full of angst and started performing at poetry open mics at my local bookstore. I went to community college in Newark where 98% of the people were black which coincidentally blended with my “urban phase.” I wanted to be African American so bad. I was making rap albums, doing slam poetry, going to black history events or Africa/Caribbean themed events. I even got elected Vice President of “American Student of African Descent.” After consistently losing slam poetry contests, I decided I didn’t want to ever do Slam Poetry again but I loved performing. I was always a class clown type of kid and the transition from “funny spoken word” to “stand up comedy” just came naturally.
What was your first gig like? Got any good bombing or heckling stories?
My first time I performed was a show was at a comedy contest in Jersey. You basically paid 2 dollars less if you were performing and at the end of the night you voted for your favorite comedian. I did pretty well for my first time. This guy basically bombed but won 2nd place because all his friends voted for him. I kept on doing shows in New York and even got paid for like my 5th time performing ever. As soon as I started performing for other comedians or open mics it all went down hill. I bombed horribly at this “Comedy Workshop” at the New York Comedy Club.I watched everyone set and offered my “helpful” suggestions and then proceeded to perform to complete silence. It was very humbling. Also, I’ve been yelled and threatened off stage several times for telling pedophile jokes at a local bar. Which is ironic because now people at that bar often greet me with “Do the pedophile shit!”
What type of comedy can people expect from you?
They should expect some clever established one-liners to pad my attempts to connect through the audience through unrehearsed babbling while I struggle to find my voice. I think a few people appreciate the fact that I try to stray away from being a joke jukebox. Though, I’m sure alot of people wish I would stop acting like a human being and just entertain them. Regardless, there will be no accents or jokes about being Asian unless it is to mock the hack doing them.
Anything else you’d like to add or comedians you’d recommend?
I’d like to give a shout out to Brian Aylward who is basically running ship at SUCK (Stand Up Comics in Korea). He’s a very talented Canadian comedian that performs all over the world. Also, check out my boy Joshua Wesson; basically unsigned hype, killing it. Rob Fioretta and Randy Miroir are worth checking out definitely
Look at that, Critic even finds time to hustle for his homies. I’ll leave you with one last video he sent which is super weird, but I laughed pretty hard at the jump cuts and general tomfoolery.