Laugh at Kam's funeral

One of the performers at the comedy show Laugh Die You - The Karaoke, Joanne Kam (left) started out at Haw Par Villa doing shows.
One of the performers at the comedy show Laugh Die You - The Karaoke, Joanne Kam (left) started out at Haw Par Villa doing shows.PHOTO: POPCORN STUDIO

Malaysian comedienne Joanne Kam wants to be remembered for making people laugh

8Q

Sassy Malaysian comedienne Joanne Kam will cross the Causeway this weekend to settle some funny business.

She will take on Singapore's drag diva Kumar in a battle of one-liners and jabs as the two queens go head-to-head in the comedy show Laugh Die You - The Karaoke at Resorts World Sentosa.

They will fling potshots at each other and the other's country in a friendly match-up, with funny man Gurmit Singh's flamboyant new character Hero Singh - a moustached security guard - playing referee.

The three-hour show will include live music and dance as well as opportunities for karaoke fans to work their vocal chords.

Malaysian production company Popcorn Studio is behind the show which is in its fourth instalment after performances in Kuala Lumpur and Penang earlier this year.

  • BOOK IT / LAUGH DIE YOU - THE KARAOKE (R18)

  • WHERE: Resorts World Theatre, 8 Sentosa Gateway, Resorts World Sentosa

    WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: $73 to $375 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)

    INFO: www.facebook.com/laughdieyoukl

For sharp-tongued Kam, 43, the show is a sweet reunion with her old-time "kakis" (Singlish for "friends") Kumar and Singh.

The three met more than two decades ago at the Haw Par Villa theme park where they had their start in comedy performing in shows there.

The single mother of a 10- year-old daughter says with a chuckle:

"It's always nice to see them and reminisce about our days at Haw Par Villa."

She had moved from Penang to Singapore in the early 1990s to establish her entertainment career because "there was no comedy scene in Malaysia then".

But she returned to Malaysia a few years later when Kuala Lumpur opened its first cabaret Boom Boom Room.

The feisty comedienne worked her way up and is now widely referred to as Malaysia's "queen of comedy".

The title is something she embraces and uses to help other female comedians break into the industry.

An example is the all-female stand-up showcase Super Kam, which she has organised in Malaysia for the past three years with one coming up later this year.

She says: "I am all for the female agenda. We need to support one another."

1 You and Kumar have battled it out for Laugh Die You - The Karaoke in Penang and Kuala Lumpur. Who is currently leading?

I don't know, but according to the producer, we are quite even.

As our jokes are different, it's anyone's game.

2 Do you think Malaysians are funnier than Singaporeans?

Not necessarily. I have seen some very good Singaporean comics such as Fakkah Fuzz, Sharul Channa and Rishi Budhrani.

Comedians are all the same. We just want to be loved and make people laugh.

It's just that in Singapore, it takes a bit more work.

3 How do the audiences in Singapore compare with those in Malaysia?

They are a little bit more restrained.

For example, when we talk about race, the laughter is more nervous in Singapore whereas in Malaysia, they are laughing like crazy and throwing their panties in the air.

4 How is the comedy scene doing in Malaysia?

It's growing and there are a lot more comedians now, from old- timers to newbies.

And every year, they get better and better.

5 How would you describe your comedy style?

Very cheeky with plenty of innuendoes. I like to take my audience through experiences I have had, like going on a date.

6 Would you say that a show by a comedienne is different from one by a comedian?

Yes. They might talk about the same topics such as relationships and break-ups, but from different perspectives. For the audience, it's different too since there aren't as many female comedians compared with male ones.

7 Are there any comedians who inspire you?

I love Wanda Sykes, Whitney Cummings and Margaret Cho. It would be a dream for me to perform with Cummings. I like that she tells it from a woman's perspective.

When men watch her performance, they go: "Oh. Now I understand why she (their wife or girlfriend) does or says that."

8 How would you like to be remembered?

I would like people to remember me laughing and making them laugh. I wouldn't want people to cry at my funeral. They should laugh and my friends who are stand-up comics can each go up and do a short skit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2016, with the headline 'Laugh at Kam's funeral'. Print Edition | Subscribe