Tragedy Plus Time: Vancouver-based Comedian Nancy Ho

Nancy Ho was born in Saigon, Vietnam, and came to Canada with her family as a refugee. Nancy has performed stand-up comedy extensively across Canada, making appearances in cities such as Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and many other towns. Notably, she showcased her comedic talents at prestigious events like the White Rock Buskers and Comedy Festival, and she is also scheduled to perform at Nanaimo Fringe Festival.

Apart from her live performances, she holds the role of co-producer at Twins Comedy Productions, a Vancouver-based comedy production company. Her comedic skills have even landed her a spot on CTV’s reality show, Cross Country Cake Off, where her amusing antics have entertained audiences on television.

Nancy Ho
Photo Credit: Brandon Hart Photography

How would you describe your comedy style?

Oh gosh, I guess my style is a bit of storytelling as most of my jokes are from life experiences. I’m on the older side of comedians out and about in Vancouver so I’ve lived a little longer than some. My family would begrudgingly say my life has been “colourful”. I grew up in an immigrant family and I’m a single mom of a teenage boy. I’ve always been a hustler and I’ve had a handful of odd jobs from power-washing garages, teaching art classes to kids, working at a casino as a blackjack dealer to a day job now in Human Resources.

Who are some of your influences?

There weren’t a lot of BIPOC comedians let alone Asian comedians when I was growing up so I really love comedians like Ali Wong, Ronny Chieng, Sherry Cola, Sabrina Wu, Irene Tu, Jason Cheny and Julie Kim. Some of their material is very relatable to me. I learned to speak English by watching TV and I thought I was going to grow up to become “white” because I didn’t see many people who looked like me on TV. I know, this is comedic and tragic at the same time.

Who was your favourite comedian growing up?

I don’t know if I can name just one! This is going to date me but Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, and Tracy Ullman are definitely some female comics I loved growing up. I really admire the slapstick, physical comedy from I Love Lucy. Oh and of course, I absolutely loved Robin Williams.

Who is your favourite comedian now?

I will always love Norm Macdonald. Loved his quirky style of deadpan humour. His delivery was just so authentically funny.

What is your pre-show ritual?

I like to walk around the venue to get a sense of the demographics and I try to eves drop on conversations. I know, it sounds like I’m a creepy stalker! But it helps me decide on my material or maybe questions for the crowd if I hear something interesting. And I always go pee right before I go on stage.

What is your favourite place you have performed? Why?

This may sound a little strange, but I love performing in small towns and outside of the city centre. The demographics in the Valley, on the island, and even in Alberta, don’t seem to have a big Asian population and I think it’s good for them to see people like me and hear my stories.

What is your favourite bit you have written and why were you proud of it?

Oh no, another tough question! I have so many I like and but in the end, I want the audience to be able to relate. I have a few bits about dating but also being a single mom, the challenges of breastfeeding, parenting and how expensive kids can be. This is something that is always changing because I like to add tags to all my jokes and make them better. Each iteration gets better every time. Well, at least I hope it does!

What is your favourite medium for listening or finding new comics/comedians?

Instagram and podcasts. I love it when friends send me clips from a comic I haven’t seen before. I’ll usually deep dive into that comedian online and then see where they are performing next to see if I can catch a live show. With podcasts, I like to listen to a good debate but it has to be funny. I really enjoy listening to people with opposing opinions but they are able to make it very funny. Bill Burr is great at this!

Tell us a joke about your city.

I was doing a show with a comedian friend, Tyler Boissonnault, and a guy came up to him outside the venue and asked him if he wanted to buy a knife. I was that guy! I’m that comedian who always carries a small blade with me because I’ve actually found it comes in handy!

Do you have anything to promote right now?

I run a bi-monthly show with my co-producer/comedian friend Arash Narchi at Forecast Coffee on Main Street. You can find show details on Instagram and Facebook.

Where can we follow you?

Instagram | Linktree

PAY IT FORWARD: Who is another local comic/comedian we should know about?

Darragh Bourke

 

About Emilea Semancik 139 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: