The sketches are lifted from their early days as foreign students at Shanghai Theater Academy, which is where Harvey and fellow performer Subesh Poddar met. Why’d they choose Shanghai to launch their comedy careers? “It’s a bit more deregulated here,” says Harvey. “If you’ve got good friends and good networks and some initiative, you can get shit done.” The good network which came in handy proved to be One World Theater, a community of playwrights and actors in Shanghai, where they recruited actor/comedian Willem Esterhuyse.
This month’s brief run of ‘Briefs’ won’t be the last you hear from this trio. Fluent in Mandarin, Harvey’s next project is a multi-episode web series about modern life in Shanghai, in Chinese for local audiences. “I’ve got to keep on my toes” he says, “and keep making people laugh in as many languages as possible.
‘Briefs: A Sketch Show,’ runs January 17-19, at Real Shanghai Bar.