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A Stand Up Guy

By Andy Curtain 2019-05-16 12:06:55

We speak to Andy Curtain about stand up comedy, Shanghai life, and being a family man.

 

When did you first hear about Shanghai?

I watched the opening scene to Temple of Doom in about 1990, and Indiana Jones convinced me that in Shanghai, ‘anything goes’.

 

Why did you move to Shanghai?

I graduated in the middle of the global financial crisis. The jobs on offer were pretty ‘meh’ and I’d always wanted to live overseas. I still had Indiana’s words ringing in my ears…

 

How did you become a stand up comedian?

I was a miserable slob working a rubbish office job. Someone told me to try stand up so I went to what was essentially a karaoke/poetry open mic and tried to tell jokes. It went as well as you’d imagine, yet somehow I failed to stop. And thus I became a slob who frequently goes on stage.

 

Have you faced any challenges in Shanghai?

I’ve been booted out of the country, gone bankrupt, had a business stolen off me, and a subsequent venue closed down for reasons we cannot get into but other than that… no, nothing.

 

How has becoming a family man changed your perception of Shanghai?

I learned about the family community and how amazingly supportive they are. It’s funny, I’ve been hosting the Stuck In The Middle podcast for years, and thought I’d covered every little bubble the city had to offer. Somehow, I had a blind spot for the parenting community. It’s astounding how quickly you can get advice and help from people who are just being generous helping out.

And while I’m being a positive cherry, can someone please put a PSA on Weibo telling people not to touch the faces of other people’s kids they don’t know.

They say Shanghai’s just city, city, city, but actually the parks are functional and really great. Definitely not something you notice when you’re in your 20s boozing like a pilot on a fly day. But once you have kids, your focus changes. I’m in Xuhui and we’ve got solid play equipment in our compound (sometimes I take my kid with me), and several parks within a short walk that are perfect.

Also, Shanghai’s home delivery game is strong. My kid yells “Hema” (Alibaba’s fresh food service) every time the doorbell rings and for good reason.

 

What tips do you have for anyone having a family here in Shanghai?

Get your insurance figured out before you even start trying, it will make life a million times easier. If you’ve got a baby on the way, get an air quality monitor, seal the house up and buy some beastly air filters.

Get in the parenting groups. Most problems that come up with kids can be easily dismissed by someone who knows what they’re talking about. We’ve all had 4am meltdowns thinking our kid has hours to live, only to have someone with several kids go, ‘oh that rash? They all get that rash’.

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