Interview: Vera Chok, Host of SOLID GOLD! - An Evening of East and South East Asian Improv

Interview: Vera Chok, Host of SOLID GOLD! – An Evening of East and South East Asian Improv

SOLID GOLD! – An Evening of East and South East Asian Improv | 15 September | Hoopla Impro | Donations Welcomed

We caught up with actor, writer and funny person Vera Chok – co-host of SOLID GOLD! with Jon Nguyen – to talk about improvisational comedy, inspirations, ESEA Heritage Month, and some fab things to do in London!

Interview: Vera Chok, Host of SOLID GOLD! - An Evening of East and South East Asian Improv 1

Hi Vera – thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Tell us a bit about yourself, and about SOLID GOLD! – what can audiences expect?

Improv is a miracle! It helps me park my anxiety and be truly present. It taught me how to play and gives me confidence even though I feel like a massive weirdo in real life. Working as a team, we learn how to celebrate ourselves and others. I don’t fear making mistakes any more, and it turns out, I’m not so weird after all! The community is joyous. I’ll be co-hosting with Jon Nguyen, and we’ll guide the audience through a super-fresh evening platforming brand new AND superstar improvisers!

Headliners The Comediasiansthe UK’s premier pan-Asian improv team, will present games à la Whose Line Is It Anyway? and comedy scenes. It’s gonna be full of love!

Improv always sounds so intimidating! Is it hard, or can anyone do it with practice?

Before I tried it, it was the scariest thing in the world! But honestly, I have never felt so supported, nor laughed so much as I have, during improv. If you feel like a big weirdo, if you’re anxious, if you want to try something that’ll open your heart and have you celebrating again, try improv. I recommend starting with a course at Hoopla!

Yes, and… what are your golden rules of improv?

The same rules for life, really!

1. Listen to what’s going on.

2. Support your team mates. They are a gift to you and you are a gift to them.

3. Trying to be funny, clever or even interesting is banned! 

Come as you are, listen and build with your team and you’ll be grand.

Which improv performers inspire you and your work?

1. Tai Campbell and Monica Gaga, part of Do The Right Scene, UK’s incredible black improv team

2. Katy Schutte and Chris Mead  (London), who also make improvised theatre.

3. Anděl Sudik (L.A. and Chicago), supernova of courage and generosity.

These people are courageous, generous, and work hard to make improv inclusive.

If you’d like to watch fabulous “slice of life improv” look up TJ and Dave.

SOLID GOLD! is part of ESEA Heritage Month 2023, a really great initiative – how important is it to provide a showcase for East and South East Asian histories, achievements and unique identities here in London?

It’s super important to platform East and South East Asians who, in the UK especially, have a history of being invisable-ised. For example, being stereotyped as good immigrants, hard workers, quiet, submissive, or kung-fu fighting is damaging because it does not lead people to think of us as fully rounded human beings who have struggles and feelings just like you! We are also often clumped together as “Chinese” but there are SO many countries and cultures to celebrate. London being a melting pot, the more stories we hear, and the more different types of people we spend time with, the richer and yummier our communities will be – especially in the wake of the anti-Asian hate we experienced during the pandemic.

What are your favourite things to do in London? (Places to eat, drink, think, party, chill etc..)

1. I love dropping into Hoopla!, the improv theatre at The Miller in London Bridge. There is usually something fun on and it’s super casual.

2. I love going to any new Malaysian (or Asian) restaurant that opens! But old favourite are Sambal Shiok in Highbury and Islington, and Meraz off Brick Lane.

Give Improv a chance this Friday 15 September – click here for tickets!