This piece was published in the 33rd volume of the Asian American Policy Review.


CrazyLaugh is a short documentary about the first Chinese stand-up comedy club in NYC, told through the perspectives of three emerging Chinese comedians Baries, Nicholas, and Rachel. The film explores how they got into comedy and the community they have built in the process. During the day, Nicholas is a real estate agent, Baries is a marketer, and Rachel works in the cutthroat financial industry. But at night, they are transformed into the world of Chinese comedy, where they discover themselves and find connections and build community.

KEHAN CHEN is an independent filmmaker who majored in Film & TV and minored in BEMT and Producing at NYU Tisch. She has written over 800 movie reviews on Douban and Weibo (Chinese websites for film reviews), and her films have won multiple awards and screened at international film festivals.

Director Statement

I love stand-up comedy very much because it’s therapeutic and inspiring. It’s a new market in China compared to western countries. The development of stand-up comedy in China differs from that of European and American stand-up comedies, which were incubated offline to online. Instead, with the help of variety shows, it grew from online to offline. After the popularity of shows such as Roast! and Rock&Roast, stand-up comedy clubs, which originally existed in a few first-tier cities, have also developed in second-tier cities and even “blossomed” all over the country. As a result, there are many stand-up comedy clubs in the US where the Chinese are concentrated. For example, Chinese Comedy at Silicon Valley, Seattle Stand-up Comedy, and Ding Ho Comedy… New York City is home to 486,604 people who speak Chinese as their first language. CrazyLaugh is the first Chinese stand-up comedy club in New York. I’m curious about this new organization and how they established a platform for the community after the pandemic. I was most impressed by their ideals and love for their dedication and perseverance. They’re not doing this for money. Actually, it’s been the opposite way (spending money). They take time out of their busy schedules just for spreading happiness. They have successfully created a platform not only for Asian Americans but also for Chinese in the US, who are lonely and have always been ignored by the mainstream media. Their stories inspired and touched me so much, and I want my audience to feel the same.