Right royal laugh fest

Five of Asia’s top court jesters per­form their brand of hu­mour to a sell-out crowd in Kuala Lumpur.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ARTS - by KHAIrIe TAU­FIK

THERE are very few places in Malaysia where a man can walk onto a stage wear­ing a long black dress and high heels and be greeted with a re­sound­ing cheer from a crowd that hangs onto his ev­ery word.

That was ex­actly what hap­pened at Kuala Lumpur Con­ven­tion Cen­tre’s Ple­nary Hall last Satur­day dur­ing the stag­ing of Kings And Queen Of Com­edy Asia.

The queen among them, Ku­mar, was host of the per­for­mance that show­cased the tal­ents of top dogs in the stand-up busi­ness, with royal names such as lo­cal acts Dou­glas Lim and Harith Iskan­der, Hung Le from Viet­nam as well as Vir Das from In­dia.

“You know why they’re called Cau­casians? ’Cause they will stick it in to any Asian,” the Sin­ga­porean cross-dress­ing co­me­dian says coolly as the au­di­ence roared to his less than sub­tle in­nu­en­dos, de­liv­ered with a straight face, com­plete with ref­er­ences to his “en­hanced” bo­som.

Even Lim, the open­ing star, couldn’t help but com­ment that Ku­mar could do no wrong that night, which might have sent him­self a lit­tle awk­wardly into his act, re­mark­ing in ad­vance that some of his ma­te­rial “you may have heard of be­fore”.

Nev­er­the­less, Lim went on to en­ter­tain with his dis­tinct brand of hu­mour that poked fun at Sin­ga­pore­ans and fu­ture multi­bil­lion-ring­git tow­ers that would stretch all but 12 sto­ries higher than the cur­rent Petronas Twin Tow­ers (in KL city cen­tre).

As po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness was tossed out the win­dow, the 30year-old Vir Das came on next to talk about var­i­ous topics, like the rea­son why the Kama Su­tra holds 99 po­si­tions (an­swer: not for plea­sure, but be­cause gen­er­a­tions of mar­ried In­dian men tried to cir­cum­vent the many com­plex lay­ers of cloth­ing worn by In­dian brides).

But most no­tably was Vir’s in­ter­ac­tion with the au­di­ence. At one point, the In­dian com­edy king sin­gled out Andy from among the ca­pac­ity au­di­ence (num­ber­ing some 3,000).

He chal­lenged Andy to scream out his own name the next time he en­gaged in drunken sex, and cheer­fully quipped to the au­di­ence: “Now, Andy HAS to be drunk the next time he has sex, or else he’ll only think ... of ME!” as he ran off­stage to Andy and pro­ceeded to graft a mental pic­ture of him­self onto the guy.

Vir was suc­ceeded by Hung Le (or not-so-well Hung Le, noted Ku­mar) whose wide smile and geeky eyes would re­mind you of that friend in col­lege who was nat­u­rally funny. With a de­liv­ery that was nat­u­ral and un­scripted, the man seemed gen­uinely to en­joy his own jokes in

(From left) Singapore’s Ku­mar, Malaysia’s Dou­glas Lim and Vir Das from In­dia, had the au­di­ence in stitches. what was one of the event’s stand­out acts.

Talk­ing mostly about his ex­pe­ri­ences as a Viet­namese refugee grow­ing up in Aus­tralia, Hung filled the night with hu­mor­ous, ex­ag­ger­ated anec­dotes of his per­sonal life which in­cluded eat­ing ce­real for the first time that was sand­wiched in be­tween lay­ers of bread and mar­garine with dashes of soy sauce, cour­tesy of his non-English-speak­ing mother who fig­ured it out by look­ing at the box.

“The funny thing was, my dad ate that for 15 years, and we didn’t have the heart to tell him it wasn’t how you were sup­posed to eat ce­real,” he said as the au­di­ence guf­fawed.

The fi­nale came via Harith Iskan­der, one of Malaysia’s best­known ac­tors and co­me­di­ans who is no­to­ri­ous for his rib-tick­ling po­lit­i­cal satire. He tore into lo­cal is­sues by look­ing at the hu­mor­ous side of things.

His mag­netic charm and in­ter­est­ing per­spec­tive shone in his an­i­mated com­par­isons of Malaysian and Sin­ga­porean taxis, and the Malaysian CSI unit to CSI the TV show, which proved to be in­stant favourites with the crowd.

Of course, Harith’s skits were two steps away from be­ing a fullfledged po­lit­i­cal speech, but for now there was still enough satire for him to be crowned the King Of Com­edy.

Kings And Queen Of Com­edy Asia opened the sec­ond sea­son of shows by the Com­edy Club KL in part­ner­ship with the Com­edy Club Asia, fol­low­ing the suc­cess of the inaugural edi­tion. (It was per­formed a day ear­lier in Singapore.)

Or­gan­ised in KL by Laugh Out Loud Events, Kings And Queen Of Com­edy Asia got off to a ground­break­ing start, and could prove to be a ma­jor boost to the lo­cal cul­ture of stand-up com­edy. If the show’s at­ten­dance is any­thing to go by, the trend is set to grow.

Fun­ny­men: Viet­nam’s Hung Le (right) and Malaysia’s own Harith Iskan­der show their comedic prow­ess at the KingsAndQueenOf Com­e­dyAsia show. – Pho­tos by Ricky Lai / The Star

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