The other day, I had a delightful conversation with fellow artist Lauren Hance, who recently launched the podcast “What the Fringe?” Our discussion delved into our respective solo shows, the art of storytelling, and our shared experiences at various Fringe festivals. In the course of our conversation, she mentioned that her solo show thrives in an intimate setting, rather than on a grand stage.

She got straight to the heart of the matter.

Miyo performing in Vancouver, Canada

As storytellers, poets, comedians, or improvisers, we artists understand what truly resonates with our performances. Even the slightest alteration to our set can significantly impact its effectiveness.

The other day, my Japanese stand-up comedian friend advanced to the TV audition after undergoing multiple rounds of auditions. I felt immense pride in her accomplishment and eagerly went to support her. As I sat in the audience, my excitement was palpable.

After an energizing warm-up from the audience coordinator, the show kicked off, only to conclude after six or seven acts, with my friend’s performance notably absent. She had been rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances. I empathized with her situation; after all, she had spent over 8 hours in the theater that day. Nevertheless, as they say, the show must go on.

The next day, I returned to the theater with a renewed determination to see it through. Once again, the audience warm-up injected us with energy as the show began. Unfortunately, my friend was rescheduled once more, this time for the subsequent performance, which was scheduled hours later on the same day.

On the third attempt, finally, my friend took to the stage. However, just before her set began, a judge posed a question that caught me off guard: “Who is your biggest supporter?” My heart sank as the realization dawned on me. After sitting through two and a half shows, nobody else had been asked that question. It felt like a setup, and unfortunately, I was proven right.

As soon as my friend uttered “my husband,” he was ushered onto the stage. He waved awkwardly to the judges before attempting to retreat backstage. However, from my vantage point, I could see him being subtly pushed back onto the stage. Someone stood firmly behind him, preventing his escape. He remained on the stage while she was doing her set. As my friend continued her set, he remained on stage, inadvertently creating a visual narrative of an obedient Asian woman reliant on her husband’s presence and support.

Her jokes were centered around roasting her husband and their married life, making his unexpected presence on stage a significant distraction. Besides, her husband possessed a striking and attention-grabbing presence on stage. As a result, the atmosphere became somewhat mixed, and my friend’s performance suffered. Her jokes, which typically garnered hearty laughs, failed to land as effectively as usual.

While I don’t believe the TV producers intentionally sought her failure, they may have assumed his presence would elicit more laughter. However, what they failed to grasp is that every element, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is crucial for artists. Even the slightest deviation can have a profound impact.

Every. Element. Matters. Please do honor our artistic vision. 


What the Fringe

About What the Fringe

I had the pleasure of meeting Lauren Hance in Vancouver, Canada, during my solo show tour in 2023. Her captivating solo performance and welcoming demeanor left a lasting impression on me. Imagine my excitement when she invited me to be a guest on her podcast, dedicated to all things fringe theatre. On her podcast, Lauren delves into the creative journeys of fringe artists, offering listeners valuable insights into their processes and endeavors.


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