Remembering Late Vietnamese Comedian Chi Tai
On December 9, 2020, Vietnamese Comedian Chí Tài reportedly suffered a stroke as he was found lying motionless on a staircase in his apartment building and later passed away in the hospital. The comedian was known to have a history of diabetes and high cholesterol and was 62 years old when he passed away.
Chí Tài started his career first as a musician when he moved from Vietnam to the United States in 1981. Tài began this band when his father bought him an electronic sound system and other musical instruments. With these new instruments, Tài was able to form a band where he was the lead guitarist, occasional vocalist and drummer in the band the Chí Tài brothers. The Chí Tài brothers performed at weddings and other events for the community.
In the 1990s, Tài opened Chí Tài Recording Studios where he helped arrange and record other big name overseas Vietnamese singers. Soon after in 1992, Tài began to appear on the 18th volume of the musical variety show Paris by Night. He performed alongside singer Phuong Loan, whom he later married in 1997.
That same year, Tài made his debut as a comedian on Paris by Night. Tài filled in at the last minute for a comedy skit with Hoai Linh. The sketch garnered positive reactions, and paved the way for his comedic career.
Tài soon began to appear frequently in comedic sketches with the Thuy Nga theater group on Paris by Night. Tài was noted to have been a quieter character on stage, yet he always held his line firmly, according to Paris by Night writer Nguyen Ngoc Ngan. Although he held smaller roles, his legacy and impact on the Vietnamese community was profound. In recent years, Tài participated and starred in many Vietnamese comedy movies and tv series such as Jackpot and Nha Co 5 Nang Tien.
In order to focus on his career, he made an agreement with his wife to not have kids. Tài later revealed in an interview that he regretted not having children because he would have wanted his children to carry on his career.
Although this wish did not come to fruition, Chí Tài will be remembered by many people who loved and supported him in his entertainment career.
If you like stories like this, subscribe to Chopsticks Alley.
Chopsticks Alley Editorial Intern
Harleen is a freshman at Foothill College pursuing her B.A. in philosophy. She ran her high school’s newspaper PHHS The Legend as a managing editor , and was later inducted into the Quill and Scroll Honor Society as a lifetime member. Growing up in San Jose, Harleen hopes to write about and amplify the voices of the Vietnamese and Pinoy community that she is surrounded by. She hopes to attend law school and become a lawyer who will give back to her community.