Former comic champ Jason Leong aims higher

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PETALING JAYA: The patriotic spirit is running strong in the country, as we celebrate gold, silver and bronze medalists at the Rio Paralympics and Olympics, from the Merdeka month through to Malaysia Day today.

Now, if stand-up comedy were an Olympic sport, Dr Jason Leong would have been another medal-hopeful by virtue of being the only Malaysian to have ever won an international comedy competition (yes, it’s a serious comedy contest – no pun intended).

Going head-to-head with other top stand-up comedians in Asia at the annual Hong Kong International Comedy Competition in 2013, Jason emerged champion, beating a host of “Mat Sallehs” and fellow Asians to the title.

He even won the Overall Audience Favourite title during that HK International Comedy Festival, in which the stand-up contest is the highlight.

Who knew doctors could be so funny, right?

Still, the title came with a special prize – a series of comedy gigs across the United States, which included the famous Laugh Factory on Sunset Boulevard, in Hollywood. For those not in the know, Laugh Factory is a legendary comedy venue, which has seen the the debuts of many comedy stars like Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Jerry Seinfeld.

It may sound contrary to his hippocratic oath, but as the saying goes, “Jason killed it on stage” at the Laugh Factory.

Obviously, the people at the famous comedy club have not forgotten his debut, and now he is in the running to take part in the Funniest Person In The World (FPIW) Contest 2016, the world’s largest stand-up comedy competition organised by the Laugh Factory.

Jason will be up against some of the biggest names in comedy now and he wants to bring more glory to Malaysia.

But first he must get your votes. Just click votedrjason.com and register your vote for Jason. Voting closes on Oct 2, 2016, so you have just over two weeks left.

The people at the Laugh Factory have created the platform for fans of stand-up comedy worldwide to vote who they like out of a total of 86 comedians, from 55 countries. You can view them all here.

Like Malaysia, most of the countries have two comedians competing in the first round of the competition. Malaysia’s other challenger is veteran stand-up comic, Harith Iskander.

Both Harith and Jason received more than one million votes in the first round.

According to the rules on Laugh Factory’s FPIW page, in the first round, the top 20 contestants with the most amount of online votes will move on to Round Two. However, each country can only be represented by one contestant.

This Top 20 will then proceed to the semi-finals (Round Two), which will be held on Dec 4, 2016, in Helsinki, Finland. There, a panel judges comprising experts and celebrities will decide on the final five.

However, the judges will only determine 50 per cent of the points. The other half of the scoring in the semifinals will come from the voting trend in the first round.

In the finals (Round Three), the performances of the five finalists will be broadcast online from December 5, 2016, until December 10, 2016, for a worldwide voting audience to choose their favourite.

The comedian with the highest votes will then be crowned the first winner of the inaugural Laugh Factory Funniest Person in the World contest, taking home a cool US$100,000,and will be a part of a paid nationwide tour.