Veteran comic Dwayne Perkins, best known for his Netflix special ‘Take Note’ is coming to perform in Chiang Mai at Le Meridien hotel June 25th, in no doubt the biggest comedy show Chiang Mai will have ever seen. Jennie Pines sat down (virtually speaking) with Dwayne to share some thoughts on Thailand, comedy and all the world’s problems.
Hi Dwayne, are you excited to be back in Thailand?
I’m very excited to be back in Thailand. I love the vibe and I really love the food.
I’ve heard you’ve been to Chiang Mai before and loved it, what did you like most about it?
In Chiang Mai, I really loved the food and the low cost of the food. You can of course get all the Thai food your heart desires but you can also get any cuisine you might be craving. I also love the mountainous terrain.
Do you know any Thai?
Lol, very little unfortunately. I can say thanks and delicious. But I’m seriously looking to learn more. I also know how to say pad Thai in Thai.
How is comedy perceived differently in Asia and North America?
In general, the same human conditions and themes work everywhere. Everyone has parents, significant others and life situations that can be explored and made fun of, the world over. I think it’s still relatively new in Asia which is a great thing because it’s still being defined. It’s totally open. In Asia people come to laugh and if you make them think at the same time, fine. As long as you also make them laugh. In North America sometimes laughter can take a back seat to political correctness and policing.
How do you approach your comedy considering all the different places and people you perform to?
My basic philosophy that seems to have served me well is, if it makes me laugh it will make the crowd laugh. And for more the most part that works. Make fun of things and point out the silliness of things without punching down.
Five minutes before a set starts — where’s your mind at?
I’m usually studying the crowd and the comics before me. I’m seeing how the crowd reacts to them to decide which of my jokes I will do. I’m also plotting my first joke, Will it be a joke I already have or will I make up something on the spot about the show or the place I’m in? The first joke and how you first take the stage sets the tone for the rest of your set.
Ever regret any of your jokes?
Not really. Sometimes if I’m on the fence about whether a joke will work but then I do it and it doesn’t work. I regret not listening to my own concerns. But in that scenarios it’s 50/50. Sometimes the joke falls flat and sometimes it totally kills. Ultimately, I’m okay with those odds. If I’ve ever done a joke that made fun of people harshly for no real purpose but to be funny, then those jokes I truly do regret.
Who’s the funniest comedian you’ve heard perform?
There are really too many to name but my comedy heroes are George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. In the last 20 years though I think my friend Patrice O’Neal was truly the greatest of his time.
Did you grow up watching a lot of comedy?
Yes, tons. Mainly on TV. I loved it but I had no idea that it was something a person could pursue. It didn’t dawn on me then that it was something I could do. That realization and desire came much later
The best night of your life in terms of comedy?
Too many to single out but I guess opening up for Cedric The Entertainer at Harvard University and getting a standing ovation really stands out. It was like my first real validation I guess.
How did you handle not being able to perform during Covid lockdowns?
I was very lucky. I immediately started doing shows on zoom and other video services. Definitely not the same as live shows but it was a great bridge for me and I even wrote a bunch of new jokes that I still do now on my live shows.
What question would you like to answer that never gets asked of you?
How to fix the world’s problems. I’m not sure why they don’t just put me in charge. Seriously though I do wish I could be in a think tank group about the challenges facing mankind. Of course love and empathy are the ultimate answers to most ills but I really think I could help on a macro and micro level. So, anyone looking for a life coach?