Aaron Chen’s “twisted ideas”, the human condition and why he’s ‘Sorry Forever’

Aaron Chen’s “twisted ideas”, the human condition and why he’s ‘Sorry Forever’

Words by Andrew Brassington

The show that sold “70 billion” tickets.

Sydney-based comedian Aaron Chen makes his return to the stage for Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2021, to share some of his “bad thoughts” and “twisted ideas”.

His new show, titled Sorry Forever, sees the comedian reflecting more on himself, his interactions with other people and the objects that surround his life.

“This is my most personal show yet”, says Chen. “As of today, I feel no guilt at all. A big burden has been lifted off my shoulders by saying sorry.

“It’s always nice and earnest to receive an apology and I’m hoping that people will accept mine. I hope they’ll know what I did to them wasn’t that bad, and that they should talk to me again and forgive me.”

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Hardships and guilt aside, Chen conveyed high hopes for the show, which according to him has already sold “70 billion” tickets.

“A lot of the tickets have sold but we’re trying to create more tickets. We’re trying to buy another printer. We’ve gone through seven printers already and it’s not even cartridges. It’s the actual printers. You can print over ten billion tickets per machine and we’ve sold so many.”

It’s clear that the income from these “billions” of ticket sales has helped Chen develop a comfortable lifestyle. According to Chen, having avenues of income from performing live on stage and a multitude of TV opportunities is a healthy way for a comedian to survive.

Recently he found himself in hotel quarantine while travelling to New Zealand for a TV quiz show appearance.

“During the quarantine I would read, meditate and exercise, walking around in the yard. I did laps of that while listening to podcasts and by the end of the day I would try and watch a movie. I watched a great documentary series called Can’t Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World. It’s about individualism, why the world is the way it is, various revolutionary figures and how the world now is very crazy.”

Chen is extremely committed to exploring the human condition too. Those themes play into his comedy routines and the way he interacts with others in day to day life.

“It’s really important to find out the psyche of your fellow man. I think it’s good to be suspicious of everyone and to not trust anybody. I try to live consciously like that,” he says.

These themes were explored heavily in the vox-pop style of interviewing Chen dived into in his 2020 Adult Swim video, A Life In Questions: Wisdom School with Aaron Chen. He was quick to hit the streets and converse with people, often ending an interview by simply dropping his microphone into the nearest rubbish bin.

“We only had to throw out two [of the microphones]. We retrieved a lot of them. One was too disgusting to take back, and the other was completely destroyed because we were throwing it into the bin and kept smashing it. When we got them out of the bin we just sprayed them with Glen 20. Kevin Stathis from the band Shady Nasty was our runner, and that was his job,” Chen elaborates.

And for a final nugget of Chen wisdom?

“Aaron Chen is my name, and it’s what I first tell anyone when they ask me who I am. There are millions of people in the world and only a select few follow me on social media. Everyone else from those millions doesn’t know who I am.”

Aaron Chen’s Sorry Forever shows are sadly sold out. For more Melbourne International Comedy Festival shows and information, check out the festival website.