Diana Nguyen: Chasing Keanu Reeves: An Encore {Melbourne International Comedy Festival} – Comedy Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A show called ‘Chasing Keanu Reeves’ already had my attention. Walking into the venue and seeing that a life size cut out of Keanu was on stage, my excitement doubled, and I remember thinking, “I’m going to like this girl”.

The now iconic “You’re breathtaking” moment from E3 video-game conference occurs (If you don’t know it already, look it up. It’s so wholesome!), and Diana Nguyen then bursts onto the stage with an impressive spin, some of the greatest hair flips I’ve ever seen, dancing, and smashing the to be expected comedian walking onstage awkwardly, entrance. Beautiful hair flips aside, we get a delightful show and tell of Diana’s collection of Keanu Reeves memorabilia; mugs, a figurine sent by a fan and lastly, a shirt covered with multiple days of foundation.

The venue wasn’t filled, but Diana’s energy didn’t reflect that, her lust for life and enthusiasm stayed at the same level throughout the whole show. Her laughter is infectious her little snort made me, a fellow snorter, feel like I had found a safe space. We learn her mother was a refugee from Vietnam, then we’re given a brief, but wonderfully crass Vietnamese lesson.

I’ve always been terrified of being picked for audience participation, but Diana is so sweet and likeable I wanted her to pick me. When you go to the show, you’ll understand what I mean.

She recalls stories of chasing her mum through a Saigon airport, that resulted in a revelation about the worlds views of women’s emotional expression, and a mother’s love for her children.  There’s a brief, but hilarious list of acting credits that include Underbelly and Please Like Me where Diana has portrayed people from most Asian countries, excluding Vietnam. We get cheeky jokes about what a person can do when asked to take 2kg out of luggage on a plane flight and a mysterious stain that has a horrifying origin.

A wonderful surprise was the appearance of Keanu the ukulele. Diana’s singing voice is as beautiful as her hair flips, playing a song that leaves us asking, what shampoo and conditioner does Keanu use? The lyrics probably make up a huge reason for the show’s 16+ rating for explicit content. Diana has done a Ted Talk, so the fact that her show is more Ted Talk than the typical stand-up routine is a delightful change.

Diana is hilarious, but she’s even more enthralling when talking about the life changes that happened during the last couple of Covid stricken years, which is the show’s biggest strength, hair flips and singing aside. Hearing a woman of my own age talk about learning to accept herself for who she is and not being ashamed was really refreshing. Comedy is so often self-deprecating, so having an hour with an incredibly talented woman showing off her talents while providing uplifting messages is so much fun.

After Diana Nguyen’s ‘Chasing Keanu Reeves: An Encore’, I was left feeling that loving myself wasn’t just okay, but the best thing possible, and there shouldn’t be any shame in that. I also finally understood the Matrix for the first time in my life (please don’t judge me).

Diana Nguyen’s ‘Chasing Keanu Reeves: An Encore’ is playing at the Greek Centre – Parthenon on Lonsdale Street the 2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival until the 24th of April.

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