Popular Vietnamese comedian, MC denied entry to U.S.

By Minh Minh   July 2, 2016 | 07:59 pm PT
U.S. authorities at a Houston airport have stopped Tran Thanh, a well-known comedian and MC in Vietnam, from entering the U.S., which he claimed is due to visa issues.

Thanh and a group of artists departed from Ho Chi Minh City on June 29 for a tour in the U.S., but he was held at an airport in Houston for around 24 hours after he landed there on July 1 then had to return to Vietnam.

On his Facebook page, Thanh sent an apology to his fans in the U.S., denying that he had been expelled as some rumors suggest.


Comedian, MC Tran Thanh. Photo by VnExpress

According to the MC, he had two working visas obtained using invitations from two show organizers in the U.S., Thuy Nga and Lien Pham. The visa from Thuy Nga is valid until November this year but Thanh used the visa from Lien Pham because this company was organizing this year's tour. The visa from Lien Pham was granted in September 2015 and should have been valid for a year, however he failed to spot a line in the visa that said it expired in October 2015.

“No one has ever noticed it and I do not understand why they put that line in a visa that is valid for one year. It is out of my imagination and control,” he said.

Lawyers for Lien Pham are looking into the issue and will help apply for a new visa for the MC.

According to Thanh, U.S. authorities also said it was an error: “Because the visa has expired, we cannot let you enter the U.S., you have to fly back to Vietnam. When you have a new visa, you can continue to come here to work as normal,” he quoted them as saying.

He promised the audience he would return to perform in the U.S. during Thanksgiving in November as compensation. Thanh also urged them not to cancel the show “Ha Trang Cat Vang” (White Summer, Yellow Sand) just because of his absence.

Thanh has performed on "Paris By Night", a popular Vietnamese-language musical variety show in the U.S., produced by Thuy Nga and hosted by Nguyen Ngoc Ngan and Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen who are popular among overseas Vietnamese in the U.S. and other countries. "Paris By Night" features musical performances by modern pop stars, traditional folk songs, one-act plays and comedy sketches.

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