Harry Jun: I Grew Here {Melbourne International Comedy Festival} – Comedy Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

When you go to a comedy gig, you don’t expect to go home with homework. But Harry Jun had me looking up on Google ‘electric fan death’, among other things. Both fun and funny, Harry Jun’s show ‘I Grew Here’ is a delicate yet humorous reflection of his life.

Growing up in Wollongong, the Korean-Australian comedian shares throughout his clever show the difficulty of living as a First Generation Australian, leaving no stone unturned covering topics such as Asian parents, names, school, dating, sex, and crazy conspiracy theories.

I was surprised at just how quickly Harry hit the ground running, more than happy to chat with his attentive audience. While I am aware some people are afraid of audience participation, the situation never felt awkward or intimidating. Actually, I really wanted to speak up and join the conversation with Harry during his gig, much like other patrons when prompted by him. However, I had to consciously remind myself not to interrupt an artist at work. Considering I have social anxiety, that’s how comfortable I was.

Although I am not really a fan of stand-up comedy, what I love about Harry Jun’s style is that it’s not just bunch of unrelated jokes back-to-back. The way Harry provides humour is through his captivating storytelling that is both filled with hilarity and depth. Nothing is ever filler. Being in the room with Harry feels both entertaining and calm, like you’re listening to juicy stories from a new fast friend.

Harry skilfully and consistently makes references to stories mentioned earlier, and everything flows cohesively, but more importantly, with heart. This isn’t someone who is disgruntled and jaded from his upbringing in a Western country. It’s quite the opposite. This is someone who is clearly so grateful to be alive and to be an Asian-Australian, even with the various obstacles many of us Asian-Australian’s face. While still being conscious of the social climate right now, ‘I Grew Here’ is very much a love letter to his childhood, his family, his home, and Harry’s life thus far.

It’s hard not to love Harry when he’s pouring his heart out to you, equipped with an infectious smile, ridiculous fun facts, and almost gossip like content. Even when he is affectionately sharing the quirks about his mum and dad. Everything is funny, but it’s completely endearing. I thoroughly enjoyed Harry’s stories so much that by the end of his show, while I was satisfied, I was also sad that it was over. I wanted more and I am certain that there’s is so much more up Harry Jun’s sleeve that he can unravel in the future.

‘I Grew Here’ is a show I’m so grateful to have witnessed. Harry Jun is so good, he makes comedy look easy. Effortless and wholesome in all the right places, ‘I Grew Here’ is real, raw, relatable, and sincerely delightful.

With only 9 shows as part of the 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Harry Jun’s ‘I Grew Here’ is on until April 7th and has less than a handful of shows left at Fitzroy Comedy Club at the Belfry.

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