Arts Comedy Preview

Laughter Is: Kuala Lumpur Invades The Merry Lion Club (Review)

Screenshot 2019-11-17 at 5.38.21 PM

Over the weekend, local comedy club the Merry Lion Comedy Cafe and Bar played host to Malaysia’s Funny Business, bringing in four of the hottest comedians from across the Causeway to spark some laughs and tickle Singaporean funnybones.

Hosted by Jacky Ng, the night opened with hijabi comic Nuha, originally hailing from the Maldives but now living in KL. Nuha has a natural charm and uses her big, winsome personality to her advantage, easily garnering a sense of relatability from the audience with her interactions. Whether she’s cracking jokes about the Maldives sinking or about the lack of female comedians, she always feels real, delivering her jokes with confidence, and someone we’re hoping will go far as her career continues.

Nuha was followed by Brian Tan, using his position as the ‘angry Chinese man’ to his advantage and finding ‘fault’ with Chineseness, humour in his porn obsession and unique tastes, references to the awful Ringgit-Sing Dollar exchange rate, and even throws in a gross-out joke about the origin of Tiger Balm. It’s effortlessly delivered and Brian is rewarded with a warm round of applause for his astute observations turned humour.

Jhonney Athie was up next, and played on his mixed Sabah-Thai parentage to tell a couple of jokes about his family and the racial stereotypes that come with it. Committed to playing up Sabah as a backwater city attempting to ‘be like Singapore’, and his close relationship with his cat. Delivering his self-deprecating in a deadpan tone only serves to heighten his humour further, garnering chortles from the audience.

Saving the best for last, the seasoned Keren Bala Devan rounded off the show on a high notes with his angry outbursts, on the verge of yelling. A rare comedian who uses the angry man-style well, never feeling insulting, Keren directs his anger towards all the right places, from the terrible way countries attempt to ‘celebrate’ Deepavali to his own outrageous experience as a Hindu man trying beef for the first time…and loving it. Tossing in a couple of one-liner quips about Star Wars, or hard truths about Hinduism, Keren is a veteran at comedy and pulls no punches at all, refreshing from start to end and sheer joy to experience in person.

If anything, this set of comedians from KL not only shows the wealth of talent that Malaysia has, but also its diversity of comedians, each delivering unique jokes and sets stemming from their varying backgrounds. It’s the kind of show that convinces you that the next time you head up to KL and there’s a local comedy show playing, it’s more than likely there’ll be something punchy and fresh waiting for you, whoever it is, ready to deliver their quintessentially Malaysian brand of humour and keep you laughing throughout.

Funny Business at the Merry Lion ran from 22nd to 23rd November 2019 at the Merry Lion Club. For more information about their upcoming shows, visit their website here For more information about Funny Business, visit their Facebook page here


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