Malaysian brings on the laughter to forget Covid-19 blues

Shazwan Zaaffar, better known by his stage name of TaiigerJR6, is an online comedian and entertainer. (Bigo Live pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Covid-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of modern life, including that of entertainment.

With social distancing now a mandatory practice, entertainers are moving online to stay connected with their audiences even without a stage.

One local comedian, Shazwan Zaaffar however, made that transition five years ago, to online performance platform Bigo Live.

Better known by his stage name of TaiigerJR6, much has changed for him since he left his old job as a factory worker to become an official online host and comedian.

Speaking to FMT, he explained that doing what he loves has taught him much.

His first performance though did not go all too well. “I knew I had to brush up and be creative to keep up with other hosts on the platform.”

He was first introduced to Bigo Live by friends who were themselves experimenting with the application. When live streaming for the first time, Shazwan felt right at home and realised that he could make a living off it.

Deciding to be a live performer changed his life in more ways than one though – he met the love of his life during one of his live sessions.

Shazwan during a performance session on Bigo Live. (Bigo Live pic)

Shazwan is grateful for the change of pace that live performing offers him, especially when compared to the mundane and hard labour of his previous profession.

“I can literally go ‘live’ anywhere, anytime while spending quality time with my wife. By being my own boss, I plan my daily activities according to my schedule.”

As to be expected of a comedian, Shazwan figured that he had to learn how to craft jokes on the fly.

His efforts eventually paid off as more people caught onto his act and within a month of becoming an official host, he garnered his highest record of viewers.

“It taught me that hard work does pay off and it motivated me to achieve my goals even more,” said Shazwan.

According to him, the secret of a good joke is for it to be unexpected, for they tend to be funniest and resonate better with the audience.

However, Shazwan iterated that being a comedian is not easy as not everyone will like a performance despite all the hard work and patience that goes into an act.

People also tend to forget that comedians are humans like everyone else who have their own feelings and emotions.

“As an entertainer, it is important to be able to understand the mood and energy of your audience,” said Shazwan.

Bigo Live is a mobile live streaming platform with over 400 million users in more than 150 countries. (Screenshot)

“Always be humble, take criticism as an opportunity to improve, and treat everyone equally with respect no matter the outcome.”

Shazwan is an eternal optimist and takes comfort in the knowledge that through his humour and antics, he is able to get people to have a good time.

“Just a 15-minute chat or comedic skit could be helping someone turn a bad day around,” he said, referring to the fearful times people live in today with Covid-19 still very much a threat to everyone’s health.

Noting that he has seen a noticeable increase in viewership, Shazwan believes that by getting audiences to laugh during his performances, he helps to relieve people’s stress.

The Bigo Live platform too is turning out to be a lifesaver for musicians and entertainers who are now able to continue making a living through online performances.

Asked what words he has for budding performers, Shazwan said that it helps to not care too much about what people think.

Instead, it is important to care for one’s self and continuously evolve one’s act to ensure that the audience will keep looking forward to future performances.

“During this current Covid-19 situation, use this time to explore platforms such as Bigo Live to connect with others and showcase your skills and talents,” said Shazwan.

“You might end up learning something new by the end of this lockdown.”