Headline February 02, 2017/ ''' THE GAGSMITHS ALL '''


*O'' LORD GOD*  -IN HEAVENS  ABOVE -  the creator of every life, thought and emotions, the final arbitrator of all things Great and Small-

How does Yee, Our Lord,  Honour an  answer and contend:

When to the rolling heavens, !WOW! cried-
What lamp has destiny  to guide?
Your little children stumbling in the Dark:
*Blind understanding,* the Heavens -replied!

The above with very respectful dedication to Omar Khayyam, the great Persian Mathematician, Philosopher, Poet, Scientist, Mystic, and the Patron-Blessed.

HOME CLUB'S ALL-COMERS-WELCOME those and under-the-radar profile fostered a loyal cult following.

I had wonderful nights here   -as funny as any London club -  at shows headlined by world-class iconoclasts like Papa CJ,  Paul Ogata and Tim Tayag.

But crucially, Masala  also acted as a soapbox and a springboard for local gagsmiths. Singaporeans who are now big names -performers as diverse as Jinx Yeo.  Sharul Channa, Rishi Budhrani, Sam See and Muhammad Fadzri Abdul Rashid  AKA  Fakkah Fuzz   -all debuted or honed their chops at Masala.

Yet more was to come with  The Comedy Club  Asia's intimate  Talk Cock nights at  Blu Jazz Cafe and The Comedy Pimp's regular showcases. 

''It's a bit in your face,'' says British promoter Quill Potter of his now-defunct Comedy Pimp showcase, ''but the thing about comedy is that you should take risks. You shouldn't play safe.''

The scene was growing in stature and maturity. Boundaries for self-expression, and for the art form itself, were coming down.

Former Esquire contributor Ye, 35, the most idiosyncratic of Singapore's new crop of performers, says his comedy career started almost by accident. ''It kinda snuck up on me. I first signed up for a comedy openmic  to overcome my stage fright,'' he admits.

''I thought I would just do it once, and then move on. But I enjoyed my first experience enough to sign up a second time, then a third, and so on. Then I started getting offered paid gigs, and then gradually became more frequent,.

I probably became a professional stand-up comedian before I even realised I was one.'' 

Similarly among his peers, Yeo soon built a comic brand out of self-depreciation, wordplay-loving  one-liners, and deliciously wry deconstructions of Singaporean life's little absurdities, assiduously scrutinizing his own performances by videotaping them and later playing them back.

''I realised I needed to find my own unique voice, instead of becoming a carbon copy of someone else,'' he tells me. His unassuming onstage demeanour   -mocked by a no-frills sartorial style, a penchant for whimsical detours and self-styled  ''geekery''  is matched by real by real-life modesty.

''Just a couple of months after I did my first  open-mic, I got the opportunity to open for  {US stand-up}  Rob Schneider.

I really didn't know what I was doing, but due to beginner's luck, I did well. 

A few months later, l entered the  Hong Kong  International Comedy Festival and finished as first runner-up. So I've had milestones that were confidence boosters, but at the same time, they're kind like acing a primary school exam.

Then you progress to the next phase and discover how little you really know.''

Although few would call him controversial, Yeo had touched on scared cows,  such as government policy  and familial tradition, in his act. Yet, he has rarely faced either forewarning or finger-wagging censure.

''I once did a fundraising show to raise money for a cartoonist Leslie chew,'' he recalls. The  online comic-strip artist had been arrested on charges of sedition in 2013, but was subsequently acquitted.

''The venue asked me to steer clear of political jokes   -and understandably, they didn't want any heat from the authorities. 

Sometimes, I'm asked to stay away from potentially controversial material when I perform at corporate events.

But other than that, I haven't heard of fellow comics in Singapore being cautioned about content.''

It seems incongruous that while even the mention of genital regions or a raised middle-finger on late-night television gets  bleeped or pixelated, this most provocative of art form remains virtually immune from the morality overlords' meddling.

*Is comedy now done purely on trust, I ask? ''I don't think it's necessarily a trust issue, but rather there's a certain self-selection that takes place with audiences who come to comedy shows,*'' Yeo reasons.

The Honour and Serving of the latest  ''Operational Research on Nations and Societies'' continues. Thank Ya all for reading and sharing forward.

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:

''' !WOW!- World  '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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