Jocelyn Chia is a superbusy, supertalented comedian. The Mumble caught up with her on her way to The Magners International Comedy Festival…
Hello Jocelyn, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I grew up in Singapore until I was 19. I have been primarily based in New York City, but last year Asia came calling with a lot of opportunities, so now I go back and forth between New York and Singapore.
How did you get into stand-up?
I did this program called She Creates Change for women in life transitions. At the end of the program we had a “calling party” where all the women got into a semi-circle, and one woman would sit in the middle. Everyone then called out what they thought her calling was based on what they knew of her. When it came to my turn, someone said “Jocelyn, you are so so so funny. Every time you speak up I wait to see if people laugh, and they ALWAYS do. I want to see you do stand-up comedy.” And that’s how it all started. My parents hate that girl.
Can you tell us about your experience with MTV?
There is a show on MTV called “Uncommon Sense with Charlamagne Tha God.” Charlamagne was on vacation, so MTV wanted to have a series of guest hosts who were the complete opposite of Charlamagne. If his name doesn’t already give you an idea, you can google him and see why I am indeed the complete opposite of him! But I had to do the show AS him. Meaning they dressed me in these rapper like clothes with a hat and all, the co-hosts addressed me as “Charlamagne”…it was hysterical and of course super cool to be filming in the MTV studios!
What does Jocelyn Chia like to do when she’s not being funny?
Worry about how to get funnier. I’m also very big on self-help so I’d be reading some self-help book like Getting Things Done or Atomic Habits or She Comes First.
Last year you made your Comedy Central Debut on the show “Standup Asia!” – how did it go?
I absolutely loved doing it. Standiup comedy is such a solitary endeavour most of the time so it was amazingly fun being part of a group of comedians all coming together to do this TV show that was NOT a competition. We would go out partying together, eat obscene amounts of food, and even did a giant group podcast – one of Joanne Kam’s podcast episode literally has about 10 of us all chiming in. I got along great with everyone and really bonded with a few of them – Esther Ku for example is a comedian I knew of by name and reputation and I had seen her before on a NYC show but we never ever spoke until Comedy Central Asia – now we are friends and she had me on her podcast and even wants to go on a tour together! So it really was a wonderful experience with so much fun and camaraderie, and we were treated like VIPs with a 5 star hotel stay, press interviews and the like.
You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three films, what would they be?
You’ve Got Mail, Love Actually, Mama Mia Here We Go Again (I love Abba so this will be a way to get both music and film on the desert island!)
You’re performing at this year’s MAGNERS INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL; can you tell us where, when & who with?
I have four shows with the festival this year. March 15th 8pm at Cask and Banger, March 21 8pm at Pong, March 22 10pm at McGettigan’s and March 23rd 8pm at Get Juiced.
Will you be nervous before the shows?
Right before I have to go up probably a little, which is par for the course. But I know it will disappear the moment I hit the stage so I don’t worry about any nerves and just let it be.
Would you describe your comedy as Asian or International?
International. In New York I’m performing for a tourist crowd most nights, so my set has to be international. Of course you will get some Asian perspectives, but you definitely don’t have to be Asian to appreciate my humour. In fact most nights in New York, there are zero Asians in the audience. I think Asians don’t really come out for stand-up comedy much!
What will you be doing for the rest of 2019?
I’m in Singapore until the end of March – I’m booked on Magners, and also have headlining shows at The Merry Lion (in Singapore), Myanmar and Borneo. Then I take the first two weeks in April off to go to Europe for a vacation (although knowing me I’ll probably get tempted to do some shows), before heading to NYC. I fly back to New York April 16th and already have a show that night at the New York Society Library. Then in May I am doing a mini tour, and will be performing in Delaware, Maryland and Washington DC. The rest of the year is TBD but I expect it will be pretty fun and exciting!