About two years since iflix’s launch in Malaysia, the subscription video on demand (SVOD) service has just announced its very first original Malaysian series.
Stand-up comedy series Oi! Jaga Mulut was unveiled at a press event in Kuala Lumpur recently.
“It’s the first of its kind, it’s edgy, it’s a bit rude, it’s uncensored, it’s a combination of established comedians and fresh talents,” iflix Asia head of marketing Jason Monteiro describes the show.
“Hopefully, we get to find the next Chris Rock and Kevin Hart of Asia.”
Each episode of Oi! Jaga Mulut – hosted by radio personality Haniff Hamzah – sees three comedians taking turns to present their stand-up routine, interspersed by game segments.
The seven-episode, half-hour series features Malaysian comedians such as Joanne Kam, Shamaine Othman, Rayza Mukmin and Andrew Netto and comedians from around the region including Indonesia’s Mo Sidik and Singapore’s Jinx Yeo.
Asked why the SVOD service has chosen the stand-up comedy format as its first original production instead of dramas, iflix global director of original commissioning Mark Francis responds: “We do in fact have plans to bring premium local drama to our viewers in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines very soon.
“Due to drama development timelines being significantly longer than stand-up comedy, Oi! Jaga Mulut was basically first out the door.”
The Philippines and Indonesia will be getting their own versions of the comedy series soon, titled Huy! Bibig Mo and Oi! Jaga Lambe, respectively.
One of Oi! Jaga Mulut’s selling points is its bold, no-holds-barred approach to comedy. Francis talks about giving the comedians a raw, unfiltered voice without going overboard.
“The idea of the show isn’t to be deliberately provocative or offensive for the sake of it – it’s actually to be funny. iflix is in a unique position to create a positive difference within the production ecosystem by giving local talents a new platform where they have freer rein in order to deliver those laughs.
“Yes, that does mean you’re going to hear some pretty unfiltered commentary and coarse language, but that’s the nature of a lot of stand-up.
“As a general rule though, if the language or joke is pretty rude, it had better be funny and deliver the laughs, otherwise it’s out.”
One of the comedians featured on the show Papi Zak recalls his experience being a part of the project.
Taped in front of a live studio audience, Papi says he was given complete freedom on stage.
“It’s whatever you’re comfortable with. But they were very specific about timing because every episode is less than 30 minutes.
“So, if I go over, it won’t be fair to other comedians. They gave us about seven minutes each,” he says.
The comedian adds Oi! Jaga Mulut is a great way to elevate the stand-up comedy scene in Malaysia.
“This show helps raise the awareness of stand-up comedy in Malaysia. When you mention comedy in Malaysia, it’s usually associated with slapstick comedy.
“I’m not taking anything away from that, they’re very funny, but that’s what Malaysian audiences are used to: (comedy) sketches.
“Stand-up is different, the comedian is bringing you into his or her world and telling you how he or she is experiencing it. There are other forms of comedy in Malaysia, and stand-up is one of them.”