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Laughter Is: An Interview with Fakkah Fuzz, Becky Lucas and Ben Knight of the Melbourne International Comedy Roadshow 2019

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow is back this September with a brand new crew of FIVE hilarious comedians from Australia and the region to tickle your funnybone and leave you chortling. This year’s line-up features a familiar face to locals – Singapore’s very own Fakkah Fuzz, who will be joined by Australian comedian and writer Becky Lucas, the award-winning Aaron Chen; teacher turned comic/musician/actor Ben Knight, and British guest star and an English Comedian Of The Year – Brennan Reece. In the lead-up to the show, we spoke to Fakkah Fuzz, Becky Lucas and Ben Knight to find out a little more about themselves, and their thoughts on the comedy scene today. Read the interviews in full below:

Fakkah Fuzz

Bakchormeeboy: When was the moment you realised you wanted to do stand-up comedy? Were there any childhood indications to suggest this was your destiny?

Fakkah: Well when I was in primary one I couldn’t stop talking in class and the teacher taught it would be punishment for me to get up on stage and tell a story during the assembly. She got me to tell “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and I totally killed that story by adding a Singaporean spin to everything. Even went “siala he came out naked can see his kukubird leh”. That was 3 strokes of the cane. That’s when I knew this was what I wanted to do.

Bakchormeeboy: Since your humble beginnings, you’ve gained more attention with your Netflix special (Almost Banned). How has that helped with your career, and what’s the next big thing you’re working towards?

Fakkah: Well I’m writing a new hour that’s gonna be a big show for the first half of next year. In the meantime I’m gonna be traveling doing a TV show and also touring many comedy clubs around the world. I just finished a Melbourne tour and I’m hitting up UK next. Should be fun!

Bakchormeeboy: Most uncomfortable moment or memorable heckle you’ve had onstage?

Fakkah: I’m always comfortable on stage. I mean unless its a group of people who dont speak english then it gets awkward. And that has happened many times in my career. Just power through bro theres always something to learn at the end of a bad gig.

Bakchormeeboy: In today’s PC environment, is there such a thing as something too taboo to joke about? Or is it all dependent on the way the comedian tells it?

Fakkah: This whole PC thing is really tricky. On one hand, I don’t really want anyone to feel bad about what I say on stage. On the other hand, it’s really hard not to offend anyone because comedy is subjective. I think the best idea to go with is if you watch an act and you don’t feel comfortable with what he or she says (or whatever their pronouns are) then look away as it might not be your cup of tea. Just because I don’t find a video funny doesn’t mean I should stop other people from enjoying it.

Bakchormeeboy: As one of the more prominent Singaporean comedians, do you ever feel pressure or a responsibility to ‘represent’ Singapore comedy? In short, who IS Fakkah Fuzz?

Fakkah: Fakkah Fuzz represents nobody but himself. I am Malay. I am Singaporean. I grew up in Malaysia during my teens. And I have opinions about certain things and joke about many things. Those aspects are what makes me who I am. And If my voice echos someone with a similar background and those who can relate, then that’s a bonus. 

Becky Lucas

Bakchormeeboy: When was the moment you realised you wanted to do stand-up comedy? Were there any childhood indications to suggest this was your destiny?

Becky: Unfortunately there’s no great story here… I was always into comedy and I went travelling with friends for a year or two and I remember coming back and feeling invincible. I was eating an apple on the couch one day (I remember because the apple was delicious, one of the best I’ve ever had) and there was stand-up comedy on TV and I thought ‘I reckon I could do that’. The next week I tried it, and was very bad at it! 

Bakchormeeboy: As the rose among the thorns, how does it feel to be performing as the only women among men at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow? Are there challenges for women to enter or succeed in the industry?

Becky: I hadn’t even noticed I was the only woman till it was pointed out to me! I suppose there can be some pressure because unfortunately if you do badly onstage, many people do walk away thinking ‘see! I told you women aren’t funny!!’ – it’s crazy to me that it’s even still a thought people have. There are so many funny women in the world, not just comedians but authors, singers, teacher, mums, aunties. The funniest people I knew growing up were women. I think the challenges women face in this industry are not as bad as the challenges they could face in other industries! Comedy is a place where people are at least encouraged to challenge the status quo and speak up. There’s also so many more female comedians these days, it’s awesome. Things have changed although they aren’t perfect. 

Bakchormeeboy: Most uncomfortable moment or memorable heckle you’ve had onstage?

Becky: One time I was performing in a venue that didn’t have a toilet backstage and I had to pee really badly but I didn’t want the audience to see me. I considered peeing into some paper cups that someone had left behind but was scared there’d be too much liquid for the cup’s capacity! Eventually I just went onstage and did a very short show! 

Bakchormeeboy: In today’s PC environment, is there such a thing as something too taboo to joke about? Or is it all dependent on the way the comedian tells it?

Becky: The short answer for me is yes. I think that there’s always going to be different people with different opinions in this world. It would be very boring to me if everyone in my life parroted the exact same view point so comedy really isn’t any different. I have friends who say awful things but they’re joking and even if I don’t agree with them all the time I can still find the way they said something funny. Just because you laugh at what someone says doesn’t mean you endorse it. More scrutiny should be on the people who actually have power! People are more likely to get mad at a comedian on twitter for a stupid joke than actually contact their local government about an issue they are passionate about. 

Bakchormeeboy: As a triple threat who’s comfortable onstage, in front of the camera and writing (be it for yourself or for TV shows such as Please Like Me), which aspect of comedy do you enjoy doing most? How do you see your comedy career evolving in the future, and is there a dream gig?

Becky: That’s a difficult question! I love and hate different aspects of it all. I think what makes me happiest is when I’m collaborating with friends of mine who I think are funny and we can work together to create something truly funny. I love making the people around me laugh so my dream gig would probably be a TV show with all my favourite comedians and friends. 

Ben Knight

Bakchormeeboy:When was the moment you realised you wanted to do stand-up comedy? Were there any childhood indications to suggest this was your destiny?

Ben: I always loved stand up and used to record the Melbourne Gala every year and watch it back. But I got into comedy by accident.  I was in a small Guatemalan school teaching and in my down time I started changing the lyrics to all my old songs on guitar to stupid lyrics. I began to sing them around hostels while backpacking, went in RAW Comedy Competition when I got home and then decided to quit teaching, move to Melbourne and give it a crack.

Bakchormeeboy:As an ex-teacher, did you ever incorporate elements of your comedy routine in your classes? Should education be more fun(ny)?

Ben: Absolutely, trying to keep 30 kids entertained and engaged is pretty hard so humour was definitely part of it.  Teaching also gave me a lot of material.

Bakchormeeboy: Most uncomfortable moment or memorable heckle you’ve had onstage?

Ben:In my show The Parent/Teacher Interview, I teased different types of parents. I made a line graph for bogan parents where one of the lines was being snorted by a rolled up note.  An old bloke said… “That’s not a bogan… He’s using a $50!”

Bakchormeeboy: In today’s PC environment, is there such a thing as something too taboo to joke about? Or is it all dependent on the way the comedian tells it?

Ben: It’s all about intent.  Sometimes people are more worried about trigger words than what a jokes about. I think we are becoming more worried about virtue signalling and political correctness than just being kind.

Bakchormeeboy: Transitioning into acting and comedy is quite a big change from your previous working life. Has it been easy to adapt? What are some of the biggest perks of your new life? 

Ben: Yeah it’s very different.  It has been tricky but mostly exciting. I’m very grateful I get to do this as a job. I don’t miss marking or trying to find diplomatic ways to say “Your kid’s a turd!” on report cards.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow 2019 plays at the KC Arts Centre from 25th to 28th September 2019. Tickets available from SISTIC

Plus, stand to win a pair of tickets to catch these comedians LIVE by em with answer to “Name all five comedians performing at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow!”

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