Selasa, 8 Oktober 2013

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

Get set for giggles at comedy gig


Kings And Queen Of Comedy Asia returns with the promise of a bigger blast.

RIZAL Kamal would like to issue a warning. Common side effects include belly aches followed by euphoria and an "indescribable feeling of bliss."

All these just from laughing at a stand-up comedy show!

The founder of LOL Events and The Comedy Club KL doesn't seem very remorseful about it. After all, he has been doing this for years now. And he is about to do it again.

Just around the corner is the show that promises to tickle your funny bone. Now in its fourth year, Kings And Queen Of Comedy Asia is back with another impressive line-up of five comedians from different parts of the world.

"Kings And Queen Of Comedy Asia is a homegrown event, a concept that was developed in Malaysia and Singapore. Every year we try to bring a range of personalities; a diverse group of comedians that offer different types of jokes," shares Rizal.

Comedian Imran Yusuf is of Indian heritage, grew up in London and studied in the US

Kenyan-born British comedian Imran Yusuf is no stranger to witty cultural commentary.

Presented by LOL Events in collaboration with The Comedy Club Asia, this year's Kings And Queen Of Comedy Asia will see the following funny people take to the stage: Jonathan Atherton from Australia; Danny Bhoy and Imran Yusuf, both from Britain; Sheng Wang from the United States; and Kumar from Singapore in his fabulous drag queen stage persona.

Different they might be, but there is more than just the love of comedy that unites this group of comedians: they are all Asian, in one form or another.

When asked what pre-requisites the comedians on Kings And Queen Of Comedy Asia must fulfil to be part of the show, Rizal says, "First criteria – must be superbly funny. Second is to be Asian, or of Asian descent. The comics must have done something special in their career to have an undisputed title of King or Queen of Comedy. And one of the five comedians must be a Queen."

On the Asian bit, Rizal relates that the decision was made from the very beginning.

"From the start, we wanted to showcase the talent of Asian comedians because, hey, we are Asians here, aren't we? The audience will see not just the diversity of each comic, but also the similarities. No matter how global we get, our cultural roots are very much the same. Asians are still Asians," he stresses.

Referencing Kenya-born Imran as an example, Rizal points out that he is of Indian heritage, grew up in London and studied in the US.

"His jokes are told in a primarily British accent, with a hint of American but sometimes turn totally Indian. And his views come from being an Indian living in Britain," says Rizal. "The heritage will always be there."

Describing stand-up comedy as a "personal art", he comments that comedians often see absurdity in mundane situations, and the funny side of things in even the most serious situations. He believes there is no formula to being funny – but having a twisted mind might just come in handy!

"Stand-up comedy is a fast growing scene in the country", he says, pointing out that there are lots of new and exciting talent and a real convergence of comedians from around the region.

He believes this is exactly where the future lies – that in time, stand-up comedy here will no longer be just a "local" affair, but one that sees the "collaboration of comedy people from all over Asia."

With three shows under its belt, Kings And Queen Of Comedy Asia has certainly come a long way from when it first came onto the scene.

"There is a certain maturity in decisions about acts, production, venue and how the show is promoted to our fans – on how to take it up a notch every year and to learn from what didn't work in the previous years. We still retain our core principle of bringing the best Asian comics from around the world," says Rizal.

He is over the moon that this year's Kings And Queen Of Comedy Asia will be held at Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur, saying that being able to have it in such a prestigious and culturally significant venue suggests an acceptance of stand-up comedy as a form of entertainment in Malaysia.

"It is a huge step," he adds.

One step closer to the big dream: for Kings And Queen Of Comedy Asia to not just tour the region, but also the world.

> Kings And Queen Of Comedy Asia 2013 will be staged at Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur at 8.30pm on Oct 10 and 12. Tickets are priced at RM118, RM168, RM238 and RM288. Visit for more details. Purchase tickets at or call 03-8775 4666.


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