Headline January 31, 2017/ HA HA! '''COMEDIANS-*COMICA​LS* LA LAH '''



*ALL THE WORLD STUDENTS*  to watch very, very carefully, on minute to minute basis.  not only  -*What America says, but more importantly, What America does*.

Just as the most democratic, and the greatest nation in the world, goes about talking Walls and on  ways of  shutting out the world,  !WOW!  -the World Students Society, is welcoming and  opening-up the entire world. 

All Refugees, are most welcome on Sam Daily Times : *The Voice of the Voiceless*,  and on  !WOW!  -the World Students Society. 

And with that, I return to a  *masterpiece of Research*. Hope you all enjoy reading it and sharing it forward.  

AS A REFUGEE from London who fled overseas when the economy went down in a ball of flames, old friends often ask me what I miss most about the Big Smoke.

My answer always comes down to three things: First, Thameside walks in the summertime: the sense of unfettered joy that greets the season is something to behold. 

Second, London's music scene: like something else, it's now become a giant PR circus sponsored by a hair-gel company, but its breadth of gigs and venues is unmatched anywhere. But most of all I miss the *Comedy*.

I always admired comedians above all other artists. Theirs is that bravest, most altruistic of all art forms, every performance a  high-risk lottery of life-enhancing laughter or self-immolating sacrifice, where careers can be made or destroyed in a matter of minutes.

At one time in the late-'90s, I'd be watching stand-up twice a week in seedy pub backrooms, clubs and West End theaters. 

The post-alternative, post PC comedy world was a glorious, anarchic, unpredictable, uncommodified, unexpurgated mess that threw up now legendary names -AI Murray, James Carr, Harry Hill   -at unforgettable nights across the capital.

Sweltering, clockwork efficient, buttoned-up Singapore seemed like a place in need of a laugh back in 2008. I'd been hired to help produce the local edition of  Time Out, an events magazine, in a city defined, at the time, by its uneventful-ness.

Trying to get a handle on local culture meant  unravelling   a plethora of additional, equally perplexing ironies. A literal melting pot segregated by its colonisers into enclaves, it looked multi-ethnic without ever feeling multicultural.

A rojak state settled by Malays, once governed by Brits and built by Indians, where everybody was, essentially, a foreigner  -but where ethnicity, not individuality, was integral to identity. 

And yet, the most famous comic in this odd, pleasant, intolerant place was a hilariously bitchy Indian-Singaporean  who'd honed his trade at  Bugis' Boom Boom Room and performed in drag.

Another irony: while the Western media continued to labor under the belief that the  Red Dot  was run like North Korea, in reality the performing arts were rarely censored. Local comedy, I quickly found, was a niche concern-

*Not because of state intervention or a lack of talent, but because it was economically unviable in a  mianzi culture preoccupied with profit, personal progress, saving face and a fear of failure*.

The Singaporean stars of the time   -Broadway Beng Sebastian Tan, Hossan Leong and the Dim Sum Dollies  -reflected the self-mocking, slap-stick loving, gently satirical nature of the national psyche. 

It was all mild-mannered sketches and innocuous, clever, funny songs specifically targeted at a homegrown crowd.

Yet, all of three acts also starred in Dream Academy's orgy of crass stereotyping. Sing Dollar!, a musical comedy from 2009 whose ugly overtones of xenophobia belonged  on the  Stomp comment board, not a public theatre.

The exaggerated personality traits of comics can always be explained away as  ''hiding behind a character''   -but comedy, intentionally or not, holds up a mirror to the popular mood. 

Like a riotous, overblown microcosm of Singapore at the time, racial profiling wasn't just a hallmark of these scripts, but also their entire raison d'etre.

Yet, the scrupulous censorship infamously doled out television, cinema and the press seemed not to apply. 

The MDA had theoretically banned  'Arts Entertainment'  that might offend or cause hostility between racial and religious groups or-

Promote any ''alternative sexual lifestyle''  but for better or worse, comedy seemed to slip through the net.

It was not always so. In the mid-'90s,   Rhonda Carling-Rodgers was a promoter at the tiny  Riverbank Club on boat Quay, the first club to offer international   -largely Australian stand-up.

''Each routine was scrutinised by government officials for approval,'' she recalls. ''Having to explain jokes to uniformed officials was a surreal experience.''

This was the year after William Gibson's immortal  ''Disneyland with Death Penalty''  cover story had resulted in the countrywide ban of  Wired magazine. Similarly, the artistic strictures of the time, Carling-Rodgers remembers, read much like the rules on sedition at Speakers' Corner.

''The 'guidelines' given were that there was to be no swearing, no jokes about drugs, sex or religion, no subversive political references   and  no 'creating political unrest'.

Who'd have thought a comic could be threat to a foreign country?''  

The Honour and Serving of the latest ''Operational Research on Countries and Societies''  continues. Thank Ya all for reading and sharing forward, and see you on the following one:

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society and Twitter-!E-WOW!  -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Standing-Up '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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