We had a quick chat with the Godfather of Stand-up Comedy before he’s off to cause tummy aches and teary eyes…from laughter of course.
It’s going to be another few weeks of laughter and entertainment in the life of Harith Iskander. Having won Laugh Factory’s Funniest Person in the World Competition in 2016 and released his Netflix original comedy special, I Told You So, this year, he will continue to deliver the laughs with a special tour around our home country – the #KitaOK Live Comedy Tour 2018.
We had a quick chat with the Godfather of Stand-up Comedy on what to expect from the tour and the local stand-up comedy scene before he’s off to cause tummy aches and teary eyes…from laughter of course.
Q: You have been in the stand-up comedy scene for more than two decades now. How do you still come up with fresh content for your loyal fans?
A: It’s a combination of my personal experiences, reading up on books and the Internet, and talking to people as well. For this upcoming #KitaOK show, it will have a stronger theme; it’s not going to be all over the place – and that theme is what it means to be Malaysian.
Q: There have been some doubts concerning the potential of stand-up comedy in the country. Do you think stand-up is dying locally?
A: Stand-up is not dying, stand-up is just being born. When I started 27 years ago, I was the only one doing it and I was the only one doing it right up until 2005 or 2006. That was around the time that the Internet and Broadband became more accessible in Malaysia, so there was a new bunch of people who started after watching YouTube. Since then, the scene has grown and today we have about eight to 10 professional stand-up comedians and maybe 50 or 60 amateurs and open mic-ers. I would say that in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is probably the fastest growing area for stand-up comedy.
Q: What’s new or up-and-coming in the stand-up scene in Malaysia?
A: At the end of April, I’m going be opening my own stand-up comedy club in Kuala Lumpur. It will be a full-time stand-up comedy venue and there will be shows four to five times a week. It will be called The Joke Factory and it will be the first-of-its-kind venue here before we start branching out overseas. I believe it’s going to be one of the hottest places in KL where people can enjoy a full night out including food and drinks; they can come before the show, stay for the show, then continue enjoying what the club has to offer after the show.
Q: Tell us more about what to expect from the #KitaOK Live Comedy Tour 2018.
A: Basically, for the first time, I’m really taking a look at what it means to be Malaysian. In terms of the material, I’ll be looking at the past – how Malaysia started and how we have gotten to where we are now – and just piecing it all together in one show.
The #KitaOK Live Comedy Tour 2018 will kick off this Saturday, February 24, 8.30pm at Axiata Arena Kuala Lumpur before showing at six other cities including Johor (March 1), Malacca (March 9), Penang (March 10), Kuching (March 14), Kota Kinabalu (March 15) and Labuan (March 16).