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Performing Stand-up Comedy on a Helsinki Tram #FAIL

Tags: Culture,FI vs. Foreigners,Ridiculous,Video — Author: @ 11:05 pm

What would happen if me and two other comedian friends performed stand-up comedy on a tram in Helsinki, Finland? …in the middle of the day?? …in English???

Part of Helsinki’s Culture Tram (sponsored by Korjaamo), myself, comedian Louis Zezeran, and comedienne Zoë Chandler perform an hour of stand-up on the 7A tram line during afternoon rush hour last Tuesday.

We document what happens (booing) and what doesn’t happen (laughter)…

  • http://corbacho.info David

    Man! Hardest public I ever seen in my life. You guys like to suffer

  • Päivi

    Last time I went to a stand-up show, my friend gave these words of wisdom: “let’s sit at the back so we don’t get picked on”.

    That’s probably the reason they hated you on the tram: they were morosely commuting home and probably didn’t expect to end up as a prop for a stand-up show. I do appreciate stand-up comedy, but I would have hated this.

  • http://www.finlandforthought.net Phil

    Well we didn’t pick on people too much, but we couldn’t just ignore everyone either. The interaction with the crowd were the few times people laughed, all our jokes bombed badly.

  • http://www.finlandforthought.net Phil

    @David – I dunno, it was an opportunity to yell at people through a soundsystem on a tram! Pretty fun actually! And we got paid.

  • Fisk


    No wonder you got that reaction.

  • Riippumatto

    Awesome. Kind of felt like I was watching The Office.

  • http://photo.mardy.it Mardy

    LOL @ the guy at 4:35 — welcome to Finland! :-)

  • http://www.julkka.com Julkka

    If I took a tram and saw a couple of guys in the baby carriage space yelling at newcomers in a microphone it would hardly make me laugh. Although I’m not Finnish.

    You guys meant to be funny, but honestly speaking you were not even friendly ;)

  • Anonymous

    Phil, longer you stay in Finland, more you become crazy and dull …Go look for a job instead of doing this.

  • K

    When are you guys going to come to Tampere? And are you going to bring your own tram, or will you move the show onto the busses?

  • anonymous

    guys, next time either try to speak something that non-english speaking could understand or try to be funny. Now you did neither of those.
    Would you laugh at Finnish jokes if you would not understand them?

  • Antti rn

    Comedy in Helsinki tram? Why not begin in some easier surroundings, like funerals or Sunday service.

  • Pave

    Comedy on YLE news! Surely you guys haven’t missed one of FFT’s (former) regular commentator’s fifteen minutes of fame?

  • Antti rn

    #14 Kimmo was great indeed. His boss should relax a bit. It was not the sacred 20:30 broadcast after all.


  • http://premisepunchtag.wordpress.com Joel

    What a cool experiment! Kudos to you Phil for thinking outside of the box (and taking one on the nose in this case)

  • http://premisepunchtag.wordpress.com Joel

    In fact, I think I’m going to do a theory post on the phenomenon of bombing at Premise PUNCH Tag and link to this post if you’re okay with that. Let me know if you have anymore thoughts on the experience.

  • http://corbacho.info David

    Hey Phil. I’m sure you have seen it already, but have a look to this Finnish viral video, what do you think? Do you know something about it? http://www.corbacho.info/finlandia/2010/10/markorepairs-viral-finland-finlandia/

  • http://www.finlandforthought.net Mellow-man

    the comedians are indeed talented and they as well cracked some hilarious jokes, but infact it’s well-known fact that humor is not work out those finnish people.it seems that heavens ordered them to be freaking gloomy.

  • Tuukka H.

    The problem with this stunt is that you picked a crowd that’s changing at every stop. When people come to a stand-up comedian’s show, they’re so sure of what they’re doing that they actually paid for a ticket. Just to hear Name X stand up on stage and amuse them.

    People like that stay put, keep drinking alckyhol and in general gently brainwash one another to laugh in tune with your jokes. But you did a foreign-language surprise to a lot of people whose main concern was probably something like:

    “I’m off work at last, thank God, please please let me get home so I can fail to tackle 13 different problems I should take care of”.

    But before we pass judgment, let’s make a scientific experiment out of this! Do you have the resources to pull off the same stunt in, let’s say, Johannesburg, Paris, Chicago, Sao Paulo and/or Shanghai? If it works in one of the above, or indeed some city somewhere, then we can finally open the floodgates and accuse all the boring towns where the show crashed and burned.

  • Anonymous

    The problem is Phil, that you are not funny. Finns are not so morose that they wont laugh at something that is amusing, your lack of talent is the problem here. I can’t believe that you are still sticking with your lame “stand up” shtick. Get over the fact that you are not a funny guy and move on with this chapter in your life. I have meet you in person and you are not naturally a funny guy. Think about high school and junior high, I guarantee that you were not the class clown or goof off.

  • http://www.finlandforthought.net Phil

    Haha, gotta love anonymous insults.


  • Proffa

    I never understood why there’s no program like just for laughs in Finland. Finns do like to watch these programs from other countries, but I guess they are too subborn, too concerned or simply no sense of humor when they are the part of such program. Even Swedes and French are better than Finns in this area.

  • schmitzli

    I think it is not bad for not professional comedians .I smiled few times ;)
    Phil,try it in finnish it would be da bomb!

  • Naitreid

    Interesting… you should do this more often

  • Kimberley

    Hahahahaha I could feel the awkwardness all the way through my computer monitor in New Zealand! This is hilarious, everyone looks sooo uncomfortable. There are quite a few people smiling though, so give them some credit :-)

  • Laonikos

    I have a feeling this was too loud, not funny, very annoying. Saying “germs my ass” the moment a kid goes in, shouting towards a man who is on the phone, asking an old lady if you (a young lady) look old – not funny.

    No wonder people didn’t laugh. The guy who told you to focus on your job (telling jokes) instead of trying to get him to reveal personal information (what job he does) to the rest of the tram got a better laugh because he put you in place, and they liked that because they didn’t like you.

    Sounds harsh? Probably is – but if you want to get better you need to stop feeling personal about your jokes and start improving yourselves.

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