Irish American comic returns to his native Flushing

By Madina Toure

A Flushing-born Irish-American comic who performed stand-up comedy in Ireland and briefly in China has returned to the borough to bring comedy in both English and Chinese to Flushing.

Des Bishop, 39, was born and raised in Flushing but moved to Ireland in 1990 where he attended school and started his career as a stand-up comedian.

After spending 2013 to 2015 in China, where he worked as a comic and learned Chinese, he decided to come back home and start up regular English-language and Chinese-language comedy nights in Flushing to cater to the large Asian population as well as others in the area.

He has a show titled “The Humor Section Flushing” that will take place Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. at the Huang Cheng Gen Tea House at 135-14 Northern Blvd.

The English-language dim sum comedy night will also feature Tony Chou, a stand-up comedian for Chinese national television and other comedians from across the country.

“I don’t mean that I’m just going to (book) Asian-American comics doing jokes about being Asian American, but I really want to see if we can tap into the huge population of Asian Americans that live around there so that they can have a thing to go to in the neighborhood, that they feel like it’s partially theirs,” Bishop said.

Ronny Chieng, a new correspondent for “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah, is also on board with the comedy nights.

Bishop attended St. Kevin Catholic Academy in Flushing and St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows before he flunked out. He left Flushing in fall 1990 to go to boarding school in Ireland.

He ended up staying in Ireland, studying history and English at University College Cork in Cork, a city in the southwest region of Ireland.

He stopped drinking at the age of 19, which he described as a “life-changing experience.”

Although he participated in the drama society and was always performing, he met a guy who was hosting a comedy club during his junior year of college who put pressure on him to try comedy.

“There was a bit of a comedy boom going on in Ireland at the time so I got put into these newcomer competitions almost straight away, so very quickly, I was busy with it and then suddenly it was like, “this is what I want to do with my life,’” he said.

By his senior year of college, he was already working as a comedian, becoming a part-time student and even paying for his final year of college with his earnings. He would perform at various comedy clubs in Dublin and the United Kingdom.

While in China, he was paid to learn Chinese, working as part of a TV show for Irish television.

Now that he is back in Flushing, he said the area has changed tremendously. When he lived in the area, he said it was home to blue collar individuals and the quality of schools was not as good.

He said the area is not as affordable as it used to be, noting that most of his friends who still lived in the neighborhood inherited their homes from their parents.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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