KUALA LUMPUR: “When I started my career 26 years ago, my goal was to unite Malaysians through comedy and today, I can unite the world with my brand of Malaysian humour,” newly-minted world’s funniest person, Harith Iskander said today.
Harith, 50, who was crowned the winner of the Laugh Factory’s ‘Funniest Person in the World’ (LFFPITW) competition in Helsinki, Finland, on Saturday, told Bernama when contacted, that he was thrilled to have won the title.
Saying he was glad to have been able to wave the Malaysian flag on an international platform, the stand-up comedy king added that it was about time for him to put Malaysian comedy on the world map.
“I’m absolutely grateful to have fans all over Malaysia and Southeast Asia as well as places like the United Kingdom, Denmark and Australia to have my back. It’s never possible without my fans.
“The press has also given me full support, so that’s always invaluable…my phone has not stopped ringing with messages of congratulations,” he said.
Harith laughed his way ahead of four other contenders – Alex Calleja (the Philippines) who was runner-up, followed by Katerina Vrana (Greece), Mino Van Nassau (India) and David Kilimnick (Israel).
As the winner of the coveted title, he bagged US$100,000 (over RM400,000) and a comedy tour in the United States, while Calleja went home with US$10,000 and Vrana US$5,000.
The popular comedian, who is also an actor and television host, expressed his utmost gratitude to Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Aziz for supporting him on his journey to the Nordic country.
“They (ministry) covered my flight and accommodation, which was a great help.
“I proudly wore the Tourism Malaysia shirt on stage to show my gratefulness,” he quipped.
Another comedian from Malaysia, Dr Jason Leong, also took part in the competition but lady luck was not on his side as he was eliminated in Round One.