Get ready for three whole weeks of belly laughs and gut-busting chuckles! Kuala Lumpur’s craziest comedy fest, the LOL Fest, returns for its second year, bringing 50 madcap comedians from all over the world.
Organised by LOL Events and supported by Malaysia Major Events, LOL Fest 2017 will feature an eclectic mix of performers. Headlining acts include Singaporean sensation Kumar, the hilarious Japanese comedy duo Gamarjobat and Malaysian mistress of stand up comedy Joanne Kam.
“We are excited with the line up. For the past eight years, LOL Events has worked at establishing a platform to support emerging and renowned talents in the region, who have also involved the local community and the entertainment industry,” said LOL Events CEO Rizal Kamal.
Whatever your preferred comedy style, there’s sure to be something for you at LOL Fest 2017: the festival will feature bilingual comedy, non-verbal comedy and improvisational comedy, as well as a variety of stand-up performances.
Highlights include Superkam Ultra, the fourth instalment of the popular all-female comedy series (March 24-27), the finale of the Magners International Comedy Festival (March 25-26) and the Laugh-a-thon (April 15), a unique six-hour, back-to-back comedy special.
Here are the performers who will be keeping you in stitches during the LOL Fest 2017.
The legendary Kumar probably needs no introduction: if you haven’t heard of him before, well, what took you so long? Kumar is one of South-East Asia’s most iconic performing artistes, having entertained countless audiences with his witty drag queen act.
He’s an actor, TV host, comedian, dancer, director, and author: there seems to be little he doesn’t do.
For LOL Fest 2017, you can witness Kumar’s raunchy humour during KumarSutra, where he pokes fun at all things controversial. While KumarSutra will contain his trademark jokes, the comedian said the show would be a bit different, and include a “major surprise”. It would also feature an inspiring message.
“A lot of people are still dwelling on the problems and issues they have. Some people are very depressed, but I think no one can put you down without your permission. If you put in the hard work, you can get somewhere. You don’t need anyone’s approval but yourself,” Kumar, 48, said.
The comedian, who has been performing for the past two decades, said it is important that people perform for the right reasons.
“It should be out of passion. Not just about the money, although that is also very important,” Kumar said.
“Once, a woman with her daughter in a wheelchair, came up to me after a show. She said, ‘God has not put a smile on my daughter’s face, but you did.’ And when you get this kind of feedback from the public, it’s very touching, it keeps you going.”
Queried on what he likes best about Malaysia, Kumar replied that it is our food, which he feels is distinct from Singaporean cuisine, even though they are similar.
What does he not like so much about this country? “Your traffic! Especially when it rains,” Kumar exclaimed.
AIIA (Artificial Intelligence: Improvholics Anonymous)
Doing comedy is already quite challenging. But imagine going on stage with nothing prepared, and being expected to make an audience laugh by just “making everything up as you go along”?
It sounds like a difficult task. And yet, the comedy improv group Artificial Intelligence: Improvholics Anonymous, has been doing this for years!
For LOL Fest 2017, AIIA will be engaged in an improv battle with Japanese improv group The Pirates of Tokyo Bay. The show will see a 25-minute set by the Pirates, followed by a 25-minute set by AIIA, and conclude with a session combining the two.
“We’re very excited, and we can’t wait to share a stage with them. We’ve seen some of their stuff online, and they’re very funny,” said AIIA member Tung Jit Yang.
This comment was supported by his fellow AIIA members: “We’re going to win!” Farah Rani added excitedly, while Ashraf Zain said: “But we hope improv comedy will be the real winner of the night.”
Established in September 2007, AIIA is the only improv group in Kuala Lumpur. Its current roster includes Ashraf, Farah, Tung, Shamaine Othman and Iedil Putra.
In conjunction with their upcoming 10th anniversary, the group said they were going to experiment with a new format for their monthly shows: long-form improvisation.
“Usually, you have to sustain something for three minutes, or five minutes. Now, we have to do 30 or 40 minutes. How do you do that? We’re quite nervous. But I feel we’re going to be fine. We’ll figure it out!” Ashraf laughed.
How did the group manage to come up with such entertaining improv comedy for night after night?
“There’s a method behind the madness. There’s a form, we try to tell a story, we make sure there is conflict, that something is happening,” Farah said.
“Rule No 1 for improv is, always agree. To agree, and to add to it. There’s a lot of talk about how comedy combats depression, and sadness, and I think improv can help with that. Because with improv, you never reject anything,” Tung added.
Anyone who’s seen a show by local comedian Papi Zak probably knows how comfortable he is on stage. Little do most people know, however, the funnyman got his start in the business at the back of the stage, before moving to the front.
“I started working backstage on a lot of Harith Iskander’s standup shows. And after three shows, I was like, maybe I should try this, I should scratch comedy off my bucket list. I had watched some standup in the US, where I studied, but I didn’t know it existed here until I saw Harith’s shows,” Papi, 38, recalled.
“So, I approached Harith, and he showed me to this open mic comedy night in Bangsar.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Papi, affectionately known as “Malaysia’s biggest comedian”, has since been performing for 10 years.
The man certainly has his hands full during LOLFest: He will be hosting SuperKam: Ultra, and participating in The Roast of Superheroes and Bite Me!, probably the only comedy show with an eating competition at the end.
Asked how he got his material, Papi said it was through people-watching. “My comedy is very observational. I sit myself at a crowded area of a shopping mall, and see how people act towards a situation, how they walk, or how they deal with themselves.
“And I ask myself, why do they act like this? Is this a typical Malaysian thing?” he said.
A good stand-up comedian, he said, is sharp-witted and able to reply with comebacks quickly. “Some people will talk back to you at your shows. A quick comedian like Kumar, he knows how to respond, and make it funny, but not offensive. He makes it fun. And timing is everything,” Papi said.
He added that when he first started out as a stand-up comedian, he was unsure what to do with hecklers.
“But now, thanks to my big size, no one talks back!” Papi said, breaking into laughter.
LOL Fest 2017 takes place at three main venues around Kuala Lumpur from March 24 to April 15. Tickets are available from Ticketpro Malaysia (www.ticketpro.com.my), with prices ranging from RM60 to RM300. For details, including the full festival schedule, visit www.lolfest.my or http://ift.tt/1u6cQuQ.