Nigel Ng

Ng’s a cracking success

Article from the Sun daily by S. Indra Sathiabalan (posted on 29 Oct 2019)

NIGEL NG, 28, is one of those lucky few who managed to follow their dream and ended up being able to do what they love as a career.

The Kuala Lumpur-born comedian now lives in London, after having studied and worked in both the United States and United Kingdom.

He made his TV debut in 2018 on the Comedy Central channel in Rob Delaney’s Stand Up Central, shortly followed by Roast Battle.

Ng also scored applause during his set at the recent Edinburgh Fringe Festival with his sold-out show, Culture Shocked, and even earned himself a nomination for best newcomer at this year’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

You may have even caught a few of his comedy clips on social media, and gotten a chuckle out of them.

We managed to contact Ng, who was in Singapore at the time, to talk about his career and his brand of comedy.

When did you realise that you wanted to do comedy?

“I started doing it when I went to university (in the US) and I thought it was a fun thing to do, and so I kept doing it. I moved to the UK for work (as a data scientist), and I continued pursuing comedy.

“The fear [of failure] was still there but I was trying to see if I could turn this into a career. It was a gradual process. I am a full-time comedian now.”

Where else did you perform?

“I would hit the open mic scene in Chicago, and did some shows there as well. It was in clubs like The Laugh Factory and Zanie’s.”

How was your first attempt at doing comedy in front of strangers?

“The first time was a blur. I only remember being so nervous. I think it went okay. I didn’t bomb. I guess doing okay was enough for me to continue doing it.

“I got a few giggles, and that was enough.”

What do you think of the stand-up comedy scene in Malaysia?

“The scene in Malaysia is much younger than in the West, but there are really, really funny people here. Even when I started, the scene was already developing very quickly.

“I met Kevan Jay at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year. I have met many funny people in person, and saw some of them online, like Jason Leong and Harith Iskander.

“I think it is a great scene to be a part of. It is growing really fast. It’s exciting for me to be part of that scene.”

What is the inspiration for your acts?

“As an Asian person who lives in a western world, I just see [the differences between] Asians [living] in the West versus Asians who are over here.

“Over here, we just go about our lives. Over in the West, Asians sometimes [feel] out of place in society, being conscious of culture and identity.

“I see that and, in a funny way, I tell people about our culture, our voice, our food.”

How do you deal with hecklers?

“It does not happen too often, so that is nice. So long as the crowd is on your side, they (hecklers) can say anything they want. If the crowd likes you and someone heckles you, you can tell that person to shut up.”

What is the philosophy you live by?

“When I am on stage, I try to be as authentic as possible. I try to speak my mind. I try not to have too many filters on myself.”

Is there any subject you won’t touch?

“No. If I can make it funny, I will talk about anything.

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