Comedian Brian Aylward’s Korean comeback
What’s the best thing about Korea? If you ask funnyman Brian Aylward, he’ll tell you “Thailand.” The former EFL teacher turned stand-up comedian said he now makes a living helping to sell beer and chicken wings by telling jokes to strangers.
Aylward will bring his act back to Korea June 26 to July 7, performing on stages in Busan, Bundang, Daegu, Gumi and Seoul.
If you haven’t heard the name Brian Aylward before, it might be because you’re new in these parts. In Korea, Aylward made a name for himself as a stand up comic and founder of Stand Up Seoul. He was also a humor columnist, writing The Last Laugh, for Groove Korea.
The Grand Falls, Newfoundland native spent six years in Korea — 2003 to 2006 and 2007 to 2010. In the second stint, he performed hundreds of shows throughout Korea and across Asia — in places such as Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Since returning to Canada for good in December 2010, Aylward has been kicking up a flurry in the stand-up comedy scene. His accolades in that short period of time are too many to list here, but include “Halifax's Funniest" in 2011 and the Newfoundland Winner for 2011 Yuk Yuks “Great Canadian Laugh-Off.” He’s also been featured on CBC television, CBC Radio's "Laugh Out Loud" and XM Radio's "Laugh Attack."
He’s just that funny. In fact, it’s almost impossible to get a straight answer out of him. When asked what he enjoys the most about being a comedian, he says, “When a new bit works out well on stage. Then, I think maybe I won't have to talk about koala rape that night.” His least: “Paying for your chicken wings and draft beer after headlining that club.”
And this is what he misses most about Korea: “Racism and cherry blossoms.” The least? “Cockroaches in my orange juice.” Gross.
Now a famous comedian, his story probably isn’t that much different from that of most expats in Korea.
Before he ever picked up a mic, Aylward was unsure of his place in the world, so he traveled — a lot. He’s been all over Korea, Japan, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and Thailand. He’s taught English as a foreign language in Korea.
In hindsight, those journeys were research, he said. “I am very happy that I have found my funny.
“I got into comedy based on a bet. My girlfriend, now wife, bet me that if she quit smoking for a month that I would have to go up on stage. She quit and I have been telling jokes and stories on stage ever since. My first time was at Rockssins Bar in Anyang, at a popular expat hangout.”
Since then the 37-year-old hasn't looked back. In those seven years he’s established himself as an international stand-up act.
For the latest on his Korean tour, go to his new website (www.brianaylward.com.) “You get to support a dreamer and it will be lots of laughs. Plus, I will hug you for an extra two bucks,” he said.
Online: Become one of his 1 million-plus followers on Twitter — @AylwardBrian. For more information on the man himself, go to his website www.brianaylward.com.
June 26: Traveler’s Bar (Bundang)
June 28: Traveler’s Bar (Daegu)
June 29: Sharky’s (Busan)
June 30: HQ (Busan)
July 1: Yaletown (Sinchon)
July 6: Waegook Cook (Gumi)
July 7: Rocky Mountain Tavern (Itaewon, Seoul)
More shows in Korea will be added to his busy schedule. If you’re interested in providing a venue, please contact him via e-mail at email@example.com.
COMEDY CLUB ASIA TOUR
Singapore: June 13-17
Cambodia: June 19
Malaysia: June 21-22
Indonesia: June 23
For the latest scheduling, go to Comedy Club Asia’s website, www.thecomedyclub.asia