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Laughter is the key to world peace

By Mary Katherine Smith (China Daily)

15:38, September 14, 2012

Paul Ogata (China Daily)

Paul Ogata was always the funny kid in class, but it wasn't until Ogata was into his 20s that he realized his calling.

The road to comedy was a bit of a long one for Ogata, who grew up in Hawaii, with his first real taste of stand-up in college. Not the most dedicated student of formal education, he decided the prescribed plan his parents wanted was not for him.

Some 20 years later, Ogata, now 43, has a resume full of comedic achievements. He's won the prestigious San Francisco International Comedy Competitions and also appeared on numerous TV shows and specials.

Despite his achievements, he admits that one of the best parts of his job is going to places. He has performed in 25 countries in five continents. His travels as an "American of Asian appearance" abroad provide great stories and jokes that have audiences rolling on the floor.

"Whenever I'm traveling, I'm a fish out of water, and people like to hear about the troubles you run into," he says. "Sometimes it's foreign to them that this can happen in their own country."

While there are some minor adjustments to jokes for his shows abroad, he says the human condition is universal. "Sometimes you go into a new country and they've never seen this kind of entertainment before and it's shocking to them at first, but you see their faces sort of warm up as they get into it. I like to see people changing, I think for the better," he says.

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