Jennifer Zheng wins Rising Star New Act 2023 final

Monday 29th May 2023, 4:43pm

  • Jennifer Zheng has won the Rising Star New Act 2023 competition
  • She says: "It's been a crazy ride with the most welcoming and supportive people"
  • Max Devine took home the Comic Originality title
Jennifer Zheng. Credit: Bennie Curnow

Jennifer Zheng, who performs as 'Jen Z', has won the Rising Star New Act 2023 competition.

Her biography explains: "I'm a high-energy queer Northern Irish grown Chinese storyteller comic; I'm bad at being Chinese but very good at diving clit first into horrible dates. I went from being too scared to hold a microphone in a class of 10 people, to winning my first competition, then back to bombing in a sex dungeon where the smell of incense barely covered the odour of piss."

Speaking about this weekend's win, Zheng says: "It's been a crazy ride with the most welcoming and supportive people: much less rapey than I thought it would be! Hoping some publicity will mean I can do fewer bringer gigs and I can keep my friends and boyfriend from leaving me. As for the cash? I'm spending it on going to the Edinburgh Fringe this year to compete in the SYTYF semi-finals!"

The organisers comment: "'Jen Z', who absolutely smashed exploring the UK's stereotypes to her youthful Chinese appearance, wins the £300 cash prize, plus all the acclaim of winning a final so early in her comedy career."

Max Devine

Max Devine, who performed as "a joyous clown swimming pool attendant", claimed the Pete Nash Award For Comic Originality.

He says: "I'm really enjoying surprising audiences with my act and it seems like they're enjoying it too! Jen was kind enough to gift me 10 whole Scottish pounds so likely I'll be sensible and spread it across several meal deals or perhaps I'll frame it as the first bit of money I've earned being funny."

Rising Star New Act 2023 final

The other finalists were Cedric Aubert, Hamish Lloyd Barnes, Holly Ludlow, Jimmy Tam, Kieran Shah, Mahesh Khilnani and Tabish Akbar. Tasha Cluskey had also qualified for the live final, which took place on Saturday 27th May at The Camden Head, but couldn't make the show.

The organisers conclude: "Judged by Rising Star royalty Jamie D'Souza and Pete Nash, these finalists were exceptionally professional, especially for those so early in their career, and also notable in their variety of styles."

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