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Taiwanese standup comedian to launch 1st ever political satire show among Mandarin-speaking countries

Top-tier university graduate to change the landscape of Taiwan's TV political talk show by launching "The Night Night Show"

(Screen shot image of the Night Night Show)

(Screen shot image of the Night Night Show)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - A young popular Taiwanese standup comedian is setting up a crowdfunding campaign to produce a Taiwanese political satire show inspired by the late-night political comedy shows in the U.S., with an aim to raise political awareness among fellow young people.

In the crowdfunding page, it says that the one-hour "The Night Night Show" is slated to launch in early October, and explains how the audience can sponsor the programs.

Raised in the U.S. for several years, and educated in Taiwan, UK, and France, Brian Tseng (曾博恩) discovered his passion for standup comedy during senior high and participated in stand-up open-mic events when he was studying in the National Taiwan University. He continued watching stand-up shows when he was studying neuroscience in London and Paris, and decided to become a professional stand-up comedian and comedian show producer after graduation in 2016, according to his exclusive interview with Apple Daily earlier this year.

The bilingual 27-year-old's Facebook fan page has reached 256 thousand followers. A video of his performance mocking the trend of using pointless abbreviations among young people - Da-nai--wei-wei - hit more than 1 million views on his own YouTube channel. The rapidly growing popularity made him think of creating his own standup comedy show. On Monday, Aug. 20, the trial broadcast of "The Night Night Show" went to YouTube and got more than 15,000 views in a day.

In the beginning of the Chinese-language standup show, Tseng explained the rationale to do this show: to raise political awareness among fellow young people. The show is divided into four parts: opening monologue, "News Update," "Issues," and "Guest Interview." The opening is followed by a run-through of recent headlines resembling television newscasts in a humorous way. A solid knowledge of the country's history, political system, and regulations enables this Université Paris VI graduate to lampoon Taiwanese politicians, and sometimes ridicule China's political repression and bullying.

In his first News Update of the trial broadcast, Tseng mocked the Kuomintang which recently complained that 90 percent of their ill-gotten party assets had been frozen, which Tseng made a funny twist by comparing the number to the percentage of the land the Kuomintang losing to the Communist Party in the civil war nearly 70 years ago.

Tseng also touched key social issues including low birth rate, which Taiwan was ranked the third lowest in the world, which lead to an expansion of the child-rearing subsidy starting this August. Also, China's ban on the release of Disney's film "Christopher Robin" is satirized during the show.

The "News Update" is followed by a discussion over key issues. In the debut, Tseng pointed out the absurdity of several court rulings that impose penalties on offenses against reputation as well as the problem of vexatious litigation in the country, which Tseng is worried about it causing an immense waste of judicial resources and curb free expression, in the long run hurting Taiwan's freedom of expression and democracy.

The first two guests interviewed in the debut are legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) and rapper Kumachan (熊仔).

Hauer Xie (謝政豪), co-founder of Taiwanbar Studio, a website featuring humorous animation on a wide range of social issues, told Upmedia that it is about time to produce the thought-provoking political satire talk show as Taiwan is the only one Mandarin-speaking country that has achieved a complete freedom of speech, and the society is well prepared for such a show.

There is no show of this kind on Taiwan's television stations, but there are a few political satire productions on their Facebook channels, such as OMGooseTW and Crazyck101, which provide videos mixing animation with TV news clips to satirize politician's silly proposal and speech in a more amusing manner, though they are far less thought-provoking. The both platforms are extremely popular among netizens, and among people who are disappointed by Taiwan's politics; for example, Crazyck101 has nearly 1.4 million Facebook followers.

Back in 2004, two famous Taiwanese TV producers launched a popular TV sketch show - "Everybody Speaks Nonsenses II – Hot Pot" (全民大悶鍋) which mainly focused on topics related to politics. The award-winning TV program is believed to be the pioneer of satirical play on TV that mocks Taiwanese politicians, entertainers, and other public figures, but the show has also been criticized for lack of merciless political lampoons and for being less critical.

Taiwan has reached complete freedom of speech 30 years after the Martial Law was lifted in 1987, which was 12 years after former ruler and dictator Chiang Kai-shek's death.

In the end of the trial broadcast of "the Night Night Show," Tseng said that standup comedy is something between art and mass entertainment. He said he won't be afraid of trolls, as some of their feedbacks could be constructive to make his production even better.

Below is the trial broadcast of "the Night Night Show" on YouTube: