Comedy refers to any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or to amuse by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, television, film and stand-up comedy. Comedians, the people who make the laughter happens then must possess talent, confidence, and agility to provoke hilarity in the right moment and spot-on timing.
Given such high level of aptitude required, we must say comedians are born and hardly made. Of course experience can mold a better comedian but respect should be given to them as not only they are special, they are also introducing happiness and positivity into our culture and daily life. This list covers Top 10 most voted comedians, not specifically to a certain type of comedy but surely 10 sons of Malaysia we are proud to have.
1) Harith Iskander
Recently named “ASIA’S BEST STAND-UP COMEDIAN AWARD” by TOP 10 of ASIA AWARD 2014, Harith Iskander is referred to as the Godfather of Stand-Up Comedy in Malaysia. Since 1991 Harith has performed ‘live’ at hundreds (if not thousands) or shows and entertained thousands (if not millions?) of people with his unique and original material. His comedy performance is in great demand and any company function is never complete without Harith inevitably bringing the house down with his routine.
Last year Harith embarked on a six-nation comedy tour titled “The Godfather of Malaysian Stand Up Comedy International Tour” where he performed to audiences in India (Chennai/New Delhi), Korea (Seoul), Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia (Perth) and Indonesia (Jakarta).
2) Douglas Lim
If Harith is the Godfather then Douglas is the favourite son of Stand-Up Comedy. When Douglas used to flop first six of his shows as a stand-up comedian, he recalls “Harith Iskander saw me and asked me to be the opening act for his shows”. Through the exposure, Douglas began to garner more jobs on his own and having eventually established himself, Douglas decided on organising his own public shows. He also founded the Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedians (MACC) with fellow comics Phoon Chi Ho, Jason Leong and Kuah Jenhan in 2009.
Douglas’ first taste of the performing arts is when he starts out as a singer-songwriter right after high school. But it did not take long before he found himself on television. During his first two years of matriculation studies, he lands himself a decent role on local production Kopitiam. Douglas Lim is now primarily a Stand-up Comedian. But beyond comedy, he is also many things such as Actor on screen and stage, composer and lyricist for tv and stage.
3) Ahmad Nabil Ahmad
Originated from Negeri Sembilan, Ahmad Nabil starts to gain recognition after winning the second season of the comedy talent search reality show, Raja Lawak. Better known as Nabil Raja Lawak by the public, Nabil today is arguably one of the most popular Stand-up comedians who is profound in our national language, Malay.
Traction of his career as a comedian eventually earned him is first appearance in a movie called Sifu & Tongga in early 2009, followed by Lu Pikirlah Sendiri de Movie in 2010, a autobiography film about his journey towards recognition as an artist. Today, he hosts an entertainment program named MeleTOP and stars in successions of local movies and TV series.
4) Dr Jason Leong
Dubbed as Malaysia’s fastest rising comedian, Dr Jason loves to entertain audiences with clean, sharp and observational humour. Year 2013 marked the pick-up of traction for Dr. Jason Leong when in October he became the first Malaysian to win the Annual International Comedy Competition held in Hong Kong where he was also voted Overall Audience Favourite. This gave him the opportunity to tour the US where Dr. Jason performed in various comedy shows in Los Angeles, Minneapolis and New York.
Within the same year, Dr Jason also made inroads in corporate comedy. His first major production in collaboration with Pfizer Malaysia called ‘Get H4RD, Stand UP!’ brought together international comics from Singapore, Hong Kong and Philippines. Additionally, Dr Jason also worked with Alliance Bank Malaysia and helped inject comedy into their 2013 campaign called the Bizsmart Academy SME Innovation Challenge. Dr Jason’s public appearances to date include being the resident emcee of Comedy Kao Kao, a monthly comedy show which he started few years ago and in the Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedians (MACC) produced by Douglas Lim.
Also known as ‘Malaysia’s First Chindian Comedian’, Gajen first started doing comedy in year 2009 in his University events. He then went on to organize Monash University’s first ever comedy show in 2012, opening to a full house of 350 people from over 10 different countries. Gajen’s first ever opportunity came when he performed in public for the first time at Comedy Kao Kao. Since then, things have changed a lot for Gajen.
Today, Gajen is no stranger to the limelight, appearing in Monash’s student magazine Monga, getting interviewed by Capital FM, and even having NTV7 film a documentary about his career as a stand-up comedian. Besides university events, he has also performed in corporate dinners, weddings, charity shows and more than 80 comedy shows, sharing stages with comedians from US, UK, Australia and Hong Kong. Surely some worth-to-mention achievements by Gajen being one of the youngest comedians in the local comedy scene.
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6) Shuib Sepahtu
Shahmira bin Muhamad or Shuib Sephatu needs no introduction if you are a fan of local comedy show Raja Lawak. Shuib began making a name in the field of comedy and started to gain many of his own followers after Team Sepah, a team once he was a member, clinched the title of Raja Lawak Season 3 in Year 2009. After Team Sepah was dismissed, Shuib formed Team Sepahtu with his peer Jep Sepahtu and became champion once again in another comedy show call Maharaja Lawak Mega in year 2013.
Born in Johor, Shuib’s ambition to become an artist started in 2008 with an intention to support his family. Having worked in a factory and then failed trying his talent as a singer by entering Akademi Fantasia, Shuib eventually found that Comedy is what he is destined for. Since he gained recognition from Raja Lawak, Shuib’s career quickly expanded into acting and he has starred in drama such as ‘Bujang Sepah Silalitamplom’, ‘Burger Layan Diri’, ‘Ibu Mee Segera’ and movies such as ‘Sepahtu the Movie’, ‘Oh Mak Kau (O.M.K)’, ‘Mael Lambong The Movie’, just to name a few.
7) Phoon Chi Ho
Original. Unpredictable. Daring. Phoon Chi Ho is touted as a ‘thinking man’s’ comedian. If you’re hungry for some hilarity and entertainment, then Phoon Chi Ho is all you need! Equipped with a catalogue of sharp-wit observations, off-the-wall dance moves, and rib-tickling takes on local life,Chi Ho has made more than a hundred performances around the country since his comedy debut in mid-2014 when he co-founded the local comedydance troupe, The ComeBackKings.
Since this wit-wizard’s first stand-up comedy performance, Chi Ho never looked back and quickly gained recognition in Kuala Lumpur’s comedy circuit. “Chi Ho has persevered and come out victorious (most of the time)” according to Douglas Lim. Together with the Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedians (MACC), founded by local comedy talent Douglas Lim, Chi Ho has also helped produce more than 30 sold-out shows with the group and has shared the stage with local greats like Harith Iskander, Patrick Teoh, and Afdlin Shauki, as well as international comedians like Paul Ogata, Gina Yeshere, Kumar and many more. Off stage, Chi Ho is a freelance writer by profession, an actor by ambition, a voice actor by option and he channels his passion for comedy as an ‘unofficial promoter’ of all-things-comedy in Malaysia.
8) Afdlin Shauki
As a stand-up comedian and improvisational comedic actor, Afdlin, also known as Chief Kodok to his fans, has performed in numerous solo stand up shows on stage. Along with an elite team of local stage and screen actors, he regularly performs in Malaysia’s own ‘live’ version of TV’s “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and received great response. Afdlin also produced the highly popular comedy sketch show, “Ah-Ha”, co-starring Harith Iskander, which has gained increased popularity on YouTube.
In addition, Afdlin played a regular character on the highly popular and successful series Phua Chu Kang, produced by Mediacorp Studios, Singapore, and airing on TCS Singapore and TV3 Malaysia. He then starred as the lead in a local sitcom, Show Me The Money and directed as well as conceptualised and produced the English language Island FM. Lately he produced, directed and performed in a recorded version of Vision Works’ live theatre comedy show, Actorlympics, aired on NTV7 Malaysia.
9) Kuah Jenhan
Standup comedy fans in Malaysia have witnessed the best deliveries of comedic curveballs from Kuah Jenhan. He exploded into the Malaysian comedy circuit in 2006 at “Free Flow”, an open mic session at The Actors’ Studio in Bangsar before winning Bond’s Stand-Up Comedy Competition the same year.
In the last five years, Jenhan has performed at sold-out shows for paying audiences in Malaysia, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Hong Kong and Singapore. Selling out his last four solo shows, he is a highly sought after entertainer at corporate events, having performed for intimate groups of ONE to crowds of 8,000 people. He also teamed up with Douglas Lim, Phoon Chi Ho and Dr. Jason Leong to make up the Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedians (MACC) and have held shows in KL and Penang.
His brand of humour and performance ethics has found the respect and accolades of some of the most experienced comics in Malaysia and in the region. Jenhan is also a columnist with Esquire magazine, a radio and voice over talent, a script-writer for TV, feature films, and in the performing arts. A master of multitasking, he is currently working on his international tour and fifth solo show slated for 2015, tending to his cat, and making spelling mistakes.
10) Kavin Jayaram
Kavin Jayaram was being voted as the grumpiest comedian in Malaysia for his love/hate relationship with his life, love and country. Known in the underground scenes and open mike spots, he has since performed with international acts such as Dave Callan (Ire), Pierre Hollins (UK), Vir Das (IND) JJ Whitehead (Can), Chris Wainhouse (Aus), Rob Brown (AUS), Paul Ogata (US) and Steven Grant (UK) and countless Malaysian stand up comics.
Since his first performance start in 2006, Kavin has grown in leaps and bounds and is involved in many major comedy shows and projects. He is passionate in developing and showing the way for new talents in the industry, as the founder of “One Mic Stand” Malaysia’s only weekly comedy open mic night, growing rapidly in stature, Kavin welcomes anyone who wants to join him in his escapades and have a laugh doing what he enjoys most – Comedy!
The compilation of this list was made from the accumulation of public votes. This weekly series is a collaboration with TallyPress, an online ranking magazine that revolves around the hottest topics in Malaysia. TallyPress is inspired by Pollbook and the original post can be read here.