The Stranger | Seattle | Slog: The Stranger's Blog | American Comedy, Korean Trouble:
I just got this email from Chris Tharp, who once lived in Seattle and was part of the Piece of Meat Theater1 and has been working as an English teacher in Busan, South Korea for the past two and a half years. Now Tharp and some other teachers are in trouble with the law over a sketch comedy show:
Since I’ve been over here, I’ve done a little performing in the expat community in this city. Two weeks ago, I produced a comedy show called Babo-Palooza! (babo means “idiot” or “fool” in Korean). We sold out two nights in a small theater where we took the piss out of ourselves and Korea as well, complete with fake puke and on onstage pissing (I tried infuse it with a bit of the old Piece of Meat aesthetic.)
The show was a big hit. People laughed hard and loud.
This week, all of us involved with the show were detained by the local police. They had sent a couple of undercover detectives to watch the show. We were questioned for two hours, drug tested, and fingerprinted. They are accusing of breaking the law by violating our visas and not getting permission to perform the show. They are using this as a pretext to go after us because they were offended by some of the content.
Several of us are now facing large fines and deportation.