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