Jenny Tian: Picture This {Melbourne International Comedy Festival} – Comedy Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Have you ever been betrayed before? I’m sure you have. And so has Jenny Tian.

Admittedly I’m not a TikTok user. Okay, I have an account, but the app isn’t on my phone and I don’t remember what my username and password are. So, ‘Picture This’ was my first-time witnessing Jenny Tian’s craft.

Delightfully funny, ‘Picture This’ is filled with topics of ethnicity, nationality, language, culture, friendship, romance, Vivid Sydney, Coldplay, bubble tea happiness, garlic bread superiority, but more importantly – betrayal.

In her Melbourne International Comedy Festival debut, Jenny Tian appears polite, friendly, and approachable, displaying a tenacity and wit for her comedy, and is an excellent storyteller while doing so.

Equipped with a screen and chair, Jenny has lovely quirky images that she prepared earlier on MS Paint which are shown via a Power Point presentation. The adorable stick figure drawings are a visual representation of Jenny’s humour and betrayal stories. But it is also evident on how great her artistic skills, editing, and writing are. I can only imagine how much planning and dedication has gone into ‘Picture This’. These images could easily go into a children’s style picture book, although, given the serious and hilarious topics, probably not appropriate for actual kids.

New to the Melbourne circuit, Jenny Tian has presented a comedy show in a way that I had never seen before. Although I am not really a fan of stand-up, I found the whole concept of ‘Picture This’ to be incredibly unique, extremely entertaining, clever, and refreshing. I loved the crisp and clean drawing of the garlic bread, but also the hilarious colourful squiggles of what is supposed to be Vivid Sydney, Sydney, Australia’s annual festival of music, light installations, and projections, which Tian advises is not so great.

Jenny Tian’s stories are also very relatable. As a fellow First Generation Australian, I saw myself in Tian’s tales, as I too struggled with the pull between my nationality and ethnicity. I even share a love for bubble tea and garlic bread. But then again, bubble tea is god tier and who doesn’t love garlic bread? Just, of course, love your own garlic bread and don’t take anyone else’s, especially not Jenny Tian’s!

Although we’re lucky to have Jenny Tian in town for her first ever Melbourne International Comedy Festival, I’m certain this multi-talented gem is going places, if not already, and this only just the beginning of what is a promising career. While Tian provides a solid show with ‘Picture This’, my favourite moments would be the betrayal stories, as this is where she is at her most authentic and vulnerable. You believe her every word and despite her acknowledging her dark past, you still want to root for her.

It was also wonderful seeing how important representation is. Asian comedy in Australia is few and far between, so it was so wholesome seeing so many fans inspired to attend the comedy festival for the first time due to Jenny Tian’s humour, relatability, and social media presence. And then waiting to take photos with her after the show. It was so sweet! I have also since leaving the show, looked up Jenny Tian’s Instagram reels of her ‘Melbourne vs. Sydney’ series and her humour definitely translates well across all platforms. But trust me, she is even better live.

I can only imagine what Jenny Tian could achieve in the not-to-distant future with a bigger budget and stage. I’m genuinely excited for what she has in store for us next. In the interim, ‘Picture This’ is a real treat for comedy fans. Whether you are an annual repeat offender or are attending for the first time, you need to catch Jenny Tian at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival before she goes back to that inferior place that is Sydney.

For more information on Jenny Tian and ticketing at the 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, visit:

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