On the road

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ARTS - By QISHIN TARIQ en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my Christ­mas Crack­ers will be on tour at China House, Pe­nang (Dec 12) and Sri Manja Bu­tik Ho­tel, Kuantan, Pa­hang (Dec 15). Tick­ets start from RM35. Call 03-7732 2224 or email rock­lands. ent@gmail.com to book tic

WhO doesn’t like a good laugh?

Ac­cord­ing to stand-up co­me­dian Phoon Chi ho, the ap­petite for com­edy has grown be­yond the Klang Val­ley’s com­edy cen­tral to places rang­ing from Kota Kin­a­balu to Pe­nang and Kuantan.

“There’s a thirst for com­edy, es­pe­cially for those out of KL. They’re watch­ing stand-up on YouTube and wait­ing to get some­one do­ing lo­cal jokes at a lo­cal venue.

“If you go on YouTube, you see a lot of black comics mak­ing jokes about black peo­ple, you end up un­der­stand­ing more about African Amer­i­cans than you do about your neigh­bours. But with lo­calised jokes, it’s some­thing we can call our own,” says the co-founder of the Malaysian As­so­ci­a­tion of Chi­nese Co­me­di­ans, which shares its ini­tials with a cer­tain na­tional an­ticor­rup­tion body.

The veteran comic notes that lo­cal­i­sa­tion doesn’t just mean adding some­thing vaguely Malaysian.

The laughs can be spe­cific right down to the state one per­forms in.

“Kuantan has Ly­nas, Jo­hor has fake mu­rals and a new week­end sched­ule, each state has its own hang-ups,” says Phoon.

Phoon will be work­ing with a dif­fer­ent group of comics – in­clud­ing An­drew netto, Rizal Van Gey­sel and Prakash Daniel – in the Rock­lands en­ter­tain­ment Christ­mas Crack­ers com­edy tour, which makes stops in Pe­nang and Kuantan.

It fin­ished its shows in the Kland Val­ley last week. With a ti­tle like Christ­mas Crack­ers, Prakash ad­mits there will be more Christ­mas jokes to un­leash.

“But we have to start with our old stuff too, we can’t just jump into Christ­mas ma­te­rial,” he says.

Phoon points out that this is pos­si­bly one of the first Christ­mas-themed com­edy com­edy duo Phoon chi Ho (left) and Prakash daniel will be among the lo­cal comics per­form­ing in the hol­i­day-themed shows be­ing done lo­cally.

“To be fair, peo­ple will start hav­ing to do hari Raya, Deep­avali, and Gawai shows. And I don’t have ma­te­rial for Gawai,” he says in mock panic.

Prakash as­sures that their per­for­mance will be “ma­ture­fam­ily friendly”, point­ing at the “For ma­ture au­di­ence only 18 & above” stamp at the bot­tom of their flyer.

“Things can still go wrong, and it’s usu­ally when you’re mak­ing sex jokes,” squirms Prakash. he re­calls an in­ci­dent when he called out an au­di­ence mem­ber, mid-way through a joke about sex, and asked how old the per­son was, only to find out the boy was 14 and there with his mum. Phoon bursts out laugh­ing and pats Prakash’s back as a half­hearted con­so­la­tion.

“You should have seen him, he was a huge guy, how was I sup­posed to know he was 14!” ob­jects Prakash, earn­ing more laugh­ter from Phoon.

Phoon says comics don’t say “the bad stuff” just to in­ten­tion­ally of­fend their au­di­ences or leave them up­set.

how­ever, a lit­tle crude­ness is some­times a nat­u­ral part of com­edy.

“If you an­a­lyse dif­fer­ent comics’ acts, you’ll no­tice that it’s the de­liv­ery, not just con­tent, that of­fends peo­ple.

“You can get away with mur­der, with the right pre­sen­ta­tion,” re­veals Phoon.

“here’s the se­cret to stand-up: we make it look sim­ple, but we’re piss­ing our pants when we get on stage.

“It’s like pulling a grenade pin, you’re ei­ther gonna bomb or kill the au­di­ence,” ad­mits Phoon.

Af­ter eight years do­ing standup, Phoon can also at­test to the dan­gers of be­ing a comic.

“I’ve got­ten into a lot of trou­ble over the years. Mostly with my wife.”


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