THE SECRET LIFE OF KUNG-FU CHARLIE, STIR-FRIDAY NIGHT!, at the Chopin Theatre. Though the city is overflowing with comedy troupes, discovering one that actually makes you laugh through the better part of the show is all too rare. But such was my experience last weekend at Stir-Friday Night!’s latest endeavor. Stir-Friday Night! is a mostly Asian-American group of performers who challenge our perceptions and stereotypes about Asian culture through satirical revues. The Secret Life of Kung-Fu Charlie not only makes fun of heroes from martial-arts films and television shows but delves into such complex issues as the role of Asian women and the conflict between younger generations and their more traditional parents. With its genuine sense of humor, Stir-Friday Night! both motivates laughter and provokes thought on these and other topics.

This generally strong ensemble has players at different levels, some of the sketches are wittier than others, and the troupe occasionally lapses into the predictable. Still, their investment in their mission gives the show an energy lacking in many other groups trying desperately to be funny.

–Gabrielle S. Kaplan