Just for laughs
Article from the Sun daily by Yeo Chia Hui (posted on 17 November 2016)
IT'S general consensus that comedians are naturally funny. How else do they come up with lines that leave us in stitches, right? While that is a comforting thought, it’s not an accurate one; because Haikal Idris is proving to be an exception to the rule.
This stand-up comedian, who has cracked many hilarious jokes, both on and off the stage, confessed that jokes are hard work. According to him, jokes need more than a funny factor; they also have to have the right structure and proper delivery.
“A lot of people think that it’s very easy to go on stage and tell jokes, but what they don’t realise is that a five-minute joke may have taken me one year to prepare. Unlike other comedians who are born funny, I’m not someone who can just light up a table with laughter on a whim.
“I need time to come up with jokes. And frankly, I have a Google drive dedicated specifically to store my jokes. I compile, categorise, and even highlight them – green for really funny jokes, yellow for those that are alright, while red ones need to be revised,” explained the 26-year-old.
Were you always interested in telling jokes?
I have always liked stand-up comedy, even from a young age. It’s not the act of telling jokes and making people laugh that’s riveting, but the whole act of going onstage and captivating your audience’s interest to an extent where they – and yourself – forget about existing problems. And it’s a bonus when I can make them laugh as well.
Will you use your jokes as pick-up lines?
I have tried it before, yes, and it works most of the time (laughs).
Have you had gigs where your audience didn’t understand or laugh at your jokes?
It has happened before. I had a show where there were only five people, with three of them being my friends so they knew my joke, but the rest didn’t. Hence, I was doing 15 minutes of materials with no laughter – it was completely silent. That’s just part and parcel of being a comedian, though.
But how do you salvage these situations?
You don’t because there’s nothing to salvage. When your audience doesn’t laugh, you still need to power through the show as if nothing happened. At some point in the career of a stand-up comedian, you have to learn not to care too much and to adapt to situations. If a joke doesn’t work out, then maybe it’s something that the audience doesn’t want to hear so you just move on.
A lot of offensive remarks are now being disguised as jokes. Where do you think we should draw the line between the two?
To me, stand-up comedy is a platform that is different from anything else. Stand-up comedy is a sanctuary. As an audience, you need to know that all kinds of jokes will be made in standup comedy. Hence, if you made a conscious decision to go to such shows and yet get offended, the onus is on you.
What about offensive ‘jokes’ made outside the context of stand-up comedy?
I think stand-up comedy is the platform where you can talk about anything you want, as long as it’s funny. As I have mentioned, the crowd is only entitled to withhold their laughter. It is, however, a different scenario if it’s done on social media or face-to-face. People need to remember that although there’s freedom of speech, the listener maintains the right to feel offended.
Follow his Twitter jokes at: @haikalclassic
Fictional alter ego: Batman.
Recommended comedies: Four Lions (2010), Monty Python and Hot Fuzz (2007).
Star sign: Capricorn.
Will sing along to: Journey To The Past (of the animated feature film Anastasia) by Liz Callaway
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