Newsletter - March 2018

Hello newsletter people! And also, welcome to the new joiners who signed up at my shows in London and Leicester! Hope you enjoyed the show. Before I jump into anything: tickets are on sale now for my show at Brighton fringe (24-26 May), please come if you live around that area! And as always I have gigs at other clubs on my site. And will be doing my first weekend at the London Comedy Store March 22-24. Exciting!

What a crazy week it’s been! Two storms hit the UK - Storm Emma and the Beast from the East (which will be my porn name if I ever pursue that field). With all the train delays and motorway closures I think the snow has wiped out half the British economy, but I find it’s also created so many more opportunities for small talk.

Oh recently I’ve started talking about this Malaysian restaurant that’s been getting horrible reviews in my set and I’ve gotten people asking me if it’s real. It is! Here’s a screenshot of some of the reviews:

This was where I discovered my different sensibilities as someone from Asia. I care the most about the food, everything else is secondary. So I read the reviews and went ok, but can someone review the food please? I know there are mice. I know it smells fishy. But was the food any good? Why review the toilets and the animals? You’re missing the point! Honestly if you told me a restaurant had amazing food, but I might have to put up with a mouse or two, I would probably still go. In Malaysia mice is how you gauge the quality of a restaurant. If you’re still in business even with rodents scurrying around, you know you have a Michelin star restaurant on your hands.

So many reviews complaining about mice! So Artur and Pin saw a mouse, left immediately, but still gave the restaurant 2 stars? Why 2 stars? If you were grossed out by a mouse surely you would’ve left the minimum 1 star review. What was the redeeming factor that made you give them an extra star? Was the mouse adorable? Did you enjoy the film Ratatouille?

Another fun story that made me chuckle recently:

https://twitter.com/guardiannews/status/967336280223879168

If you run an Asian country, DO NOT fuck with rice. Everyone there owns rice cookers. (Yes, a rice cooker - my mother would NEVER make rice in a saucepan.) Most of us haven’t even heard about quinoa. He tried to remedy the situation by saying he’s eating quinoa for health reasons. But quinoa is also 30x the price in Malaysia. So saying you only eat quinoa now to stay healthy is basically saying, “you’re poor? Well enjoy feeding yourself poison! I, on the other hand, will be enjoying my nice Peruvian grain.”

Which reminds me, I do need to get a rice cooker for myself. I got myself a slow cooker that arrogantly bills itself as a multipurpose tool that’s also rice cooker but it can’t make rice to an Asian standard, not even close. Another time when I really wanted to get a rice cooker my wife and I got seduced by a shiny Le Creuset and we bought that instead. That’s what I’ll be getting myself for my birthday - a rice cooker. What would you like for your birthday present, Nigel? To not eat Uncle Ben’s instant rice anymore. No longer will I eat rice from a pouch! Oh god WHAT AN ABOMINATION. Every time I microwave Uncle Ben’s instant rice I can feel the disapproval of my ancestors. Respect the grain, people.

Nigel

Newsletter - Jan 2018

Hello newsletter people and new joiners to my list! TLDR: See below for tickets to my solo (45-minute) standup shows, or read on to hear about my holiday to Cuba.

These solo shows are billed as Work in Progress shows on the website but it’s material I’ve been working on for a while. It’ll be good 🙂

London 3 Feb: Pleasance Theatre Islington

Leicester 20 Feb: Leicester Comedy Festival

Brighton 24-26 May: Brighton Fringe (tickets TBA)

If you want to see me in a club setting instead of a solo show, club gigs are here.


Happy New Year! Hope you had great holidays in the sun and not-too-severe sunburns. I just came back from my holiday in Cuba and boy was that a weird place.

Cuba was mostly fun. I say mostly because lots of things were quite frustrating, notably the lack of internet. To get online there you have to first buy an internet card from a government building, which usually has an hour-long line. Then you had to find a hotel or a park that has government-provided WIFI. Did you know that without internet all your smartphone is is a fancy alarm clock that counts your steps? I couldn’t even check whether it was going to rain later! And as someone who lives in the UK that just fills me with anxiety. I had to ask other people if it was going to rain, hoping that they either watched the weather channel or could feel changes of humidity in their bones. One time I asked a random Cuban if it was going to rain later that day and he closed his eyes, looked up into the sky and paused for 3 seconds. “No,” he said, “I don’t think so. I feel it’ll be sunny today.” Alright Mr. Meteorologist. What else did the clouds say to you?

People kept telling me before the trip that not having internet allows you to unplug and you can actually relax. I found that yeah sure you can unplug, but you can’t actually relax. Because anything you used to be able to achieve with a quick google search now involves asking PEOPLE. In their second language. AND if they get too friendly you worry they’re trying to rip you off. You can’t actually relax. Unplugging turned out to be way more exhausting. Keep me plugged in please.

Most things there are state-owned. Restaurants, grocery stores, local shops, etc. Which I guess in theory sounds like a great idea. But in reality, the service you get from those stores are hit and miss, and the food isn’t great. State owned businesses! Like imagine if the Job Centre ran a restaurant. I wouldn’t get brunch there. Also, food is rationed - each family is allowed like 20 eggs a month. I had to go to the black market just for some breakfast! It’s illegal to buy or sell food outside your quota. Imagine that! You could go to jail by dealing milk. My trip to Cuba made me appreciate British food. Bacon! Gravy! As much as you want! Oh you forgot toothpaste? Good luck with that. There’s no such thing as “let’s just pop down to Boots”. You gotta find a dingy looking government shop and hope you can get a small tube of Colgate for £8 a pop. Yeah they charge more for what they deem to be Western luxury items. I could go bankrupt just buying floss and soap.

My wife and I we got approached on the street quite a bit, which didn’t surprise me. For her, it’s mainly catcalls. She heard “Hola chica bonita!” (hello pretty lady in Spanish) a lot. As for me, what I got were them attempting to guess my nationality by going “Ni hao! Or is it konichiwa?” And when I tell them ni hao’s fine, they then try to sell me sunglasses or whores. Sunglasses I’ve seen before, but prostitutes? Right after a ni hao? That’s escalating a bit fast isn’t it? I had one guy say, “ni hao! Looking for a good time?”, and then pulled up a photo on his phone of a naked woman, “Cuban ladies, very good!” I wanted to ask him if those prostitutes were state-owned as well. If only I knew Spanish.

Oh oh before the trip even started I saw the most chilling thing on my travel insurance document

Transfer of ashes? I‘m glad it didn’t come to that! “How was Nigel’s holiday?” “He came back in an urn.” “Oh… I’m sorry.” “Well at least the postage was free.”

It was interesting to see a different part of the world that’s not the UK or Asia - I actually enjoyed most of it. But these little annoyances make me happy for life to be back to normal. Hopefully I’ll see you guys at one of my shows!

Nigel

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