Masterton, New Zealand
Early life and family
Kan's family moved to Wellington, New Zealand soon after his birth in Masterton. He began his education at St Mark's Church School and was School Dux. He showed an early flair for public performance which he continued at Wellington College and was School Council President and proxime accessit to dux. He attended Victoria University of Wellington's law school, and earned his LL B(Hons) and was admitted to the Bar. During his university days, he captained his team to second place in the World Universities Debating Championships, losing the final to the University of Oxford. While at Victoria University he won the Dominion Journalism Scholarship, and the Energy Law Research Scholarship. His article on energy law was published in the New Zealand Law Journal.
He first came to media prominence writing television reviews for The Dominion newspaper in Wellington and performed stand-up comedy on stage and on television. His television work included regular appearances on comedy sketch shows.
Raybon was named Best Comedian by Metro and North and South magazines on repeated occasions in New Zealand. He has performed at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, (where The Age newspaper named him one of the festival's highlights,) the Montreal Comedy Festival (1998 and 2001) and the Edinburgh Fringe. He has also performed in Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sydney. He was nominated for the inaugural Billy T Award in 1997.
His movie reviews featured in TV3's Nightline nightly news programme. His New Zealand TV appearances include "Pulp Comedy", "Laugh Festival Gala," "Before Stardom", "Look Who's Famous Now", Skitz, "Test the Nation" (which he won three times), "The Great New Zealand Spelling Bee", Inside New Zealand, a documentary in which he trained for two months to be a casino croupier; and a profile in TV's 60 Minutes. In Australia he performed on "Hey Hey It's Saturday" and was interviewed by Bert Newton.
He wrote Five Days in Las Vegas in the early 1990s about his travels to the United States where he appeared on Wheel of Fortune. Another travel-based book America on Five Bullets a Day was published in 1998 and featured his love of tennis. A collection of his short writings was published by Penguin in 2004 as An Asian at My Table. For many years he continued to write a column in The Sunday Star Times.
He has film roles in each of "I'll Make You Happy" (directed by Athina Tsoulis), Tongan Ninja (directed by Jason Stutter), and Spooked (directed by Geoff Murphy). In November 2004, he became the TV commercial spokesman for the Freedom Air airline in New Zealand.
For a time he was based in the United Kingdom, and in 2009 he performed his stand-up show 'Spermbank Millionaire' at the Edinburgh Fringe. The film he starred in, and co-wrote with Jason Sutter, Diagnosis: Death, was also released in 2009.
Raybon Kan has returned to New Zealand. He continues to provide commentary on social issues in print media, and is a guest speaker for events. He is of Chinese heritage and has commented on how racist attitudes affect people of Asian appearance in New Zealand. In 2008, Kan was awarded a Bravo award by the New Zealand Skeptics for his column "I see dud people," wherein he stated "I don’t want to get in the way of entertainers earning a crust, but it’s scummy to pretend to communicate with the dead to take advantage of grieving relatives."
- Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities linked authority file (LAF).
- 'Car-sleepers camping at the bit for Key's help' NZ Herald 18 May 2016
- 'If Chinese buy houses and pay you too much - you don't like it', NZ Herald 15 July 2015
- "Bravo Awards". New Zealand Skeptics. Retrieved 7 November 2016.