Tuesday, September 27, 2016
The famous Malaysian comedian Harith Iskander speaks to theSun and here is the full story
Headline: The Serious Side of Comedy
By Bissme S
A TOTAL of 86 comedians from 55 countries are competing to be the Funniest Person in the World Competition, organised by American comedy club chain Laugh Factory.
One of the two chosen to represent Malaysia is popular standup comedian and talkshow host Harith Iskander, 50. The other is Dr Jason Leong. Currently, the competition is in the first round.
Fans can go to the Funniest Person in the World website, where they can view short clips of the comedians and vote for their favourite before 3am on Oct 3.
The 20 comedians with the highest votes will then proceed to the second round where they will be performing in Helsinki, Finland, on Dec 4 and 5, in front of a live audience.
From there, the top five will move on to the third and final round, which will take place from Dec 6 to 10. The comedian with the highest number of online votes will take the title and the US$100,000 (RM410,000) cash prize as well as go on a US standup comedy tour. Here, Harith shares his aspirations as a comedian.
*What is your goal for this competition?
“I want to [bring honour to Malaysia] like our Paralympic athletes did when they won golds. Everyone knows that the US has great comedians, and I just want everyone to know that Malaysia, too has comedians. I want to be in the semifinal, among the top 20 comedians performing in Finland. I have confidence I can win, based on my 26 years of experience performing in Malaysia and countries such as India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Dubai. For me to qualify for the semifinals, I need to gather enough online votes from Malaysians.”
*What do you think of your Malaysian competitor, Leong?
“He is a very hard-working person. He is a friend. He is one of the new generation of comedians. It is a shame that we have go up against each other. But I am not going to shrink from the fight.” (laughs)
*Comedy is difficult to judge. What makes you laugh may not make me laugh.
“I admit comedy is difficult to judge to a certain degree. Ever since American Idol started, we live in a generation where competition is king. Fifteen years ago, one might say that [you cannot make a reality show about cooking], because taste is a matter of preference. Now look at how many cooking competition shows we have on air. To remain current, you have to keep up with the changes.”
*When did you first discover you were funny?
“On Merdeka eve in 1990. My friend who was a public relations officer for a hotel asked me to go on stage and entertain the crowd. The crowd was laughing at my jokes. I did the same thing at a jazz club and someone offered to pay me to tell the same jokes at his event. I never thought you could get paid for being funny.”
*What’s the saddest moment in your life?
“It was in 2010 when my father passed away in February and three weeks later, my mother passed away in March. My father was 76 and my mother was 82. They had lived their lives to the fullest. When they died, the reason for me to live disappeared. Thank God, my wife entered the picture in the same year and [gave] me a reason to carry on with my life.”
*Who makes you laugh?
“My wife. In my opinion, she laughs at the silliest things. What makes her laugh [often] does not make me laugh. But her laughter can be infectious. When I see her laughing, I will start laughing, too.”
*How has being a father of three changed you?
“My children [amuse me]. My children are [also a] source for my material onstage. “[One minute they will be] laughing and playing together, [and] crying and arguing the next. They won’t speak to each other. Soon, they forget what they fought about and become friends again.”
Footnote Vote for Harith at indi.com/7fzcm