When the going gets tough, the tough gets going, and in our opinion, the jokes should keep coming too! We don’t need an expert to tell us what a good laugh can do to our overall mood, and these days, laughter might be the only contagious thing you want to catch.
Following the stand-up comedy sessions on BURO Hangouts, who said the hahas have to end? After all, those who laugh, last! So here’s a round-up of local comedians hailing from Malaysia and Singapore for you to follow and keep those endorphins flowing.
One of the top comedians in Malaysia, Kuah Jenhan engages his audiences through deftly crafted stories of history, identity and insecurities while making you LOL till you gasp for more. The entertainer and co-founder of the Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedians (watch him roast-off with fellow comedy members, Douglas Lim, Phoon Chi Ho and Jason Leong) is a regular on local radio, TV and film and has been nominated for awards such as the ‘Best Comedy Show’ at Perth Fringe World and ‘Best Original Book and/or Lyrics’ for the musical Lat Kampung Boy at the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards, in addition to opening for English comedian Eddie Izzard.
One of Rahat Kapur’s original life goals was to become the next Carrie Bradshaw, but as a published writer, strategy consultant, Buro. Singapore’s new dating columnist AND stand-up comedian, we think she’s outdone herself. Her über-relatable jokes about the trials and tribulations of love and life today will get you in stitches. Keep up with the funny girl on the gram for scenic travel shots and #ootd snaps.
Singapore’s first full-time female comedian, Sharul Channa is well-known for her razor-sharp, self-slamming jokes that shed light on traditions, identity and being an Asian woman in media. The fast-talker isn’t afraid to use her voice and comedy to talk about everything from Indian weddings to gender issues and is carving a space for more female representation in Asian comedy through sold-out shows such as Crazy Poor Sita and Disco Sheela while highlighting the challenges faced by women today. Expect to be shy, to cry and laugh with her at all the things we’ve been believing in our whole lives without questioning traditions and some religious practices.
The youngest comedian on this list, Luqman Podolski’s teen days on Vine, where he was coining phrases like budak wicet (Malay kids who use English words incorrectly) and campak kamus (dictionary throwing) with his friends, kicked off a career in entertainment that adds hip-hop singer and TV host to his title to date. With over one million followers on Instagram and 88,000 on Youtube, the social media jester is leading the future wave of Malaysian comedy that’s suited to those well-versed in memes and Tik Tok. From random nonsense to silly interpretations on current events, wig-wearing Luqman’s smartphone sketches are viral for a reason: while it may seem like empty ridicule on the surface, its humour blends real issues with online savviness and resonates with a digital generation to transcend race and culture.
You may remember him as Nick Young’s status-obsessed cousin Eddie on Crazy Rich Asians, but Ronny Chieng has gained plenty of global status on his own as a stand-up comedian with a U.S. comedy tour, his own Netflix show, and correspondent on Emmy-winning news satire program, The Daily Show. The Johor Bahru-born, Singapore-raised joker is currently based in New York, where he continues to spread laughter and awareness through animated commentaries on current events, and a much-needed perspective that compares the cultural differences of the East and West.
Voted as Malaysia’s grumpiest comedian for his love/hate relationship with his life and country, Kavin Jay complains about everything so you don’t have to. With his rapid-fire jokes, Jay was one of the original local acts (along with Kuah) who were the backbone of Timeout KL’s monthly show Comedy Thursday and has since gone on to do shows around the world from Hong Kong to Australia. His own Netflix show, Kavin Jay: Everybody calm down! was the only one from Asia to be listed in the top 10 of The Wrap’s best Netflix Comedy Special.
Skewering white privilege, racial politics, sexual preconceptions with her ukulele and melodic jokes is Hannan Azlan, the youngest and first woman to win the Hong Kong International Comedy Competition in 2016. The Malaysian comedian, writer and musician draws from her theatre background to deliver charismatic, quick-witted songs that she improvises on-stage with a presence that will have you howling for more.
With his risqué accounts and goofy mannerisms, Fakkah Fuzz delivers heavyweight punchlines that are uniquely Singaporean. He got his start doing small shows and open mics, telling jokes that share his observations on race and growing up as a Malay in Singapore, before going on to become the first and only Singaporean comedian to have his own stand-up comedy special, Almost Banned, on Netflix. No stranger to controversy, Fuzz got himself into hot water in 2016 when he poked fun at Malaysia’s Prime Minister, which only grew his presence in the region despite a since-removed apology on Facebook.
Malaysia’s own queen of comedy, comedian Joanne Kam has been serving chuckles with her acid tongue humour in the local comedy scene for a few decades now. From her early days at KL’s first cabaret club to last month’s first-ever Queens of Asia Comedy Special show in Sentul, Kam’s versatility (she wears multiple hats as a writer, actress, director and emcee) and quick wits make her an empowering figure to aspiring comedians and women.
DR. JASON LEONG
Dr. Jason Leong balanced three years of his working life as a doctor and comedian before the award-winning joker made the choice to do stand-up full time. Relatively new to the scene, he made waves in 2013 as the first Malaysian to win the 7th International Hong Kong Comedy Competition. Since then, Leong’s continued on an upward trajectory, going on to perform sets for Comedy Central and at both Hollywood’s Laugh Factory and New York’s Gotham Comedy Club with his personable demeanour and jokes about his experience as a doctor, his childhood, TV programmes and daily observations.
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