My Bag

Kumar turns 50 this year but don't you call him 'uncle'

Comedian Kumar loves how his upcoming milestone birthday is putting him in the spotlight

Home-grown actor and comedian Kumar is very happy about turning 50 this year.

The milestone birthday, after all, is putting him in the spotlight.

"Everyone around me is making such a big deal out of it. They're always going, 'Wow, wow, wow, 50.'

"So it's great. I love the attention," the bachelor tells The Straits Times at an interview recently.

Although he will turn 50 only in August, the funnyman is already marking his golden jubilee in a major way, with a stand-up comedy stage show titled Kumar 50.

To be held at Capitol Theatre from Feb 28 to March 11, the show will have him sharing stories and jokes from every decade of his life, including his signaller stint during national service and working as an entertainer at Haw Par Villa.


PHOTOS: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

The show will also feature a group of sexy showgirls, who will lip-sync and dance in the background, a segment that harks back to the time when he performed comedy at the now-defunct cabaret nightclub Boom Boom Room during the late 1990s.

Kumar, who was born Kumarason Chinnadurai, says: "This show will take viewers back in time, but it's still all new material. And what's great is that because I'm older, people take me more seriously now - I think."

Even though he has come to be known over the years for his dramatic stage get-ups, particularly when he is in drag, the comedian, off stage, is much more understated.

Outward appearances are nothing when compared with maintaining good health, he says.

Donning jeans, a simple navy blue T-shirt and no make-up for this interview, he says: "Even conversations with your friends change over the years as you get older.

  • ON HIS BAG 

    My friend introduced the Bao Bao Issey Miyake bag to me years ago and told me it was the latest craze from Japan. Since then, I have become obsessed with it and now I have seven bags of various colours and sizes. But I've stopped buying them because I see everyone carrying them on the streets now. It's time for a new bag obsession.

  • BOOK IT /KUMAR 50

    WHERE: Capitol Theatre, 17 Stamford Road

    WHEN: Feb 28 to March 11, various times

    ADMISSION: $50 to $125 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)

"We used to talk about material things, but now whenever I meet my friends, we're talking about who the best TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) doctor is or who has what allergy.

"I guess when it comes to ageing, it's about learning to love yourself and to have peace of mind."

He sounds cool and collected throughout this interview. Just do not ever call him "uncle".

"My nephew and niece call me uncle all the time, even in public. And I'm like, 'oh god'. But I don't blame them because I really am their uncle.

"But I'd prefer not for anyone else to call me uncle, lah - it is so uncool. The good thing is that I always confuse people. When kids see me on the streets, they are thinking, 'Uncle, auntie or what?'"

•Follow Yip Wai Yee on Twitter @STyipwaiyee


Things in his bag 

PASSPORT

I carry my passport everywhere I go because, too many times, I have friends who will take me to Johor Baru to party and eat. There was once we drove all the way to Kuala Lumpur, so having the passport on me all the time is convenient.

NOTEBOOK AND PEN

I always have a notebook and pen with me because they help with my comedy. I do a lot of observational comedy now, so I write down anything I see and then I'll refer to these notes for inspiration.

For example, I have one line from my time in Auckland: "People are so polite." I'm sure I wrote that when I was sober.

BANK BOOK

I do not have an ATM or credit card. When I want to withdraw money, I have to take this bank book to the bank and do it the traditional way, by queueing. I'm a spendthrift, so having an ATM or credit card would be quite dangerous for me.

FERRE ROSE BY GIANFRANCO FERRE PERFUME

I am very scared of having body odour, so I keep perfumes and body sprays in my bag wherever I go. I spray so much perfume that I can go through a whole bottle in just two weeks. I like floral smells, especially rose.

WALLET

I dog-sit for a friend, so she always gives me little gifts whenever she goes on vacation. She got this wallet for me on a trip to Batam. I like it because it's nice and roomy.

TELEPHONE BILL

What does every Singaporean have to deal with every month? Bills. If it's not the telephone bill, it's the gas or electricity bill. I tend to pay my bills as soon as I receive them in the mail. I'm not very organised and I do not want to get in trouble with ridiculous interest rates if I'm late with my payments.

OWNDAYS GLASSES

I like this pair because they come with clip-on shades, so I can wear them day and night.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2018, with the headline '50 and loving it'. Print Edition | Subscribe