Sharul Channa was once accused of being a pottymouth by the mainstream press and has never looked back. Proudly wearing the name like a badge of honour, she’s bringing back her infamous pottymouth for another round of laugh out loud jokes and relatable stories this year in an all new show, and we decided to speak to her about it and catch up on how she’s been.
Sitting down with Sharul at Working Title cafe on Arab Street, her hair’s taken on a healthy pink sheen and has gone vegetarian. But she assures us she’s still as upfront and outspoken as ever. “I’m very thankful that I was given this name, because it’s really stuck. I don’t change habits easily, and even at age 90, I’ll probably still be a pottymouth,” she says.
In 2017 alone, Sharul has kept incredibly busy, being involved in Kings and Queens of Comedy Asia, the 2017 Singapore Writers Festival, Sharul Weds Sharul during the Esplanade’s Kalaa Utsavam Festival, stints on Comedy Central Asia and of course, her original live Pottymouth show. She’s even been a judge on Miss Universe Singapore.
In 2018, her schedule is going to be more packed then ever before, with plans to travel to Melbourne for the Melbourne International Comedy Roadshow in June, tour Sharul Weds Sharul to Kuala Lumpur and restage it towards the end of the year. She’ll also be extending her talents beyond being a performer, and exercise her directorial skills for a new show for a festival in Bombay, while she’ll also be directing a Hindi production of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House in September. On her schedule for 2018, she says: “Really, I just hope to continue doing more comedy throughout the year. I want to get more people involved and put a cause to my shows.”
It’s no surprise then that her 2018 show Sharul Channa Is A Pottymouth will once again be held during the week of International Women’s Day in March, this time at the Drama Centre Black Box. Arguably Singapore’s best loved female comedienne, expect to hear stories about her Indian family, delve into the psyche of the Asian man, deal with life and death and of course, bring back crowd pleaser ‘Aunty Sunita’.
On feminism in Singapore, Sharul says: “I need to start the conversation, because who else will? The thing about Singapore women is that they’re just not talking. Asian women want to be safe and no one wants to ruffles any feathers and talk about things like pay inequality and the inherently misogynistic culture.”
Sharul relates her history with women’s rights and feminism to us with a story: “You know, the Singapore Women’s Association is actually located right under my block and I only realized this recently, after 14 years of living there. To notice it now feels almost like a sign, and I want to work with them to change the perception that women are not funny, and be able to talk about what’s important to us and what it means to be a Singaporean woman. One thing I’ve been thinking about is how so many women don’t want to have kids. I think it’s a very Lysistrata situation, where women are protesting in response to how expensive or scary it can be to raise a child in Singapore. It’s important to start conversations like this and get to the root of the problems.”
On the difficulty of being a comedian in Singapore, Sharul says: “I’m organically getting support from women, people, individuals and fans. I don’t really get any support from big organizations unless you count the comedy clubs, and this is because Singapore simply doesn’t care until you’ve proven yourself internationally. You see Fakkah Fuzz, he recently snagged a Netflix special, and people are finally taking notice of him. I think that individually, I have to do something by myself first and prove that I deserve more support.”
Sharul concludes: “I may be a pottymouth, but I’m not just coming out to swear at people. I’m coming out to say what I feel, and share my 2 cents about life. It’s not a theatre show with lights and dramatic pauses, it’s a show about evoking thought and laughter, and for people to come in and gain a fresh perspective about themselves.”
Sharul Channa Is A Pottymouth plays at the Drama Centre Black Box from 10th – 11th March. Tickets available from Peatix