PETALING JAYA: Malaysian support counted for a lot in Malaysian comedian Harith Iskandar’s recent achievement in being voted the world’s funniest person.
According to Harith, Malaysians were among the only foreigners present in the largely Finnish audience supporting him during his set at the Laugh Factory’s “Funniest Person In The World” competition.
He said the support of the 30 or so flag-waving Malaysians in the audience counted for a lot, especially with the constant stream of well-wishes and messages from Malaysians back home.
“Most of them were Finns. But there were a group of Malaysians who came from the embassy, 30 of them showed up.
“The moment I stepped out on stage, all the flags came up. Even the comedian that came up after me asked me, where did you find all these Malaysians? In that audience, only Malaysians really showed up to support their own comedian,” Harith told a press conference shortly after returning to Malaysia this morning.
Harith scored the highest among the 20 comedians in the competition, which was held at the Hulli Polo Arena in Levi, Finland.
He beat four other contenders in the final, namely Alex Calleja from the Philippines, Katerina Vrana from Greece, Mino Van Nassau from India and David Kilimnick from Israel.
Harith’s next engagement will see him travelling across the United States for a national tour sponsored by popular US comedy club Laugh Factory.
“I have to build the Malaysian style of comedy there. I’m a Malaysian, I want to stay here, but I want to bring this part of Malaysia internationally,” Harith said.
“I try to give a show that anyone from anywhere can understand and laugh.”
Harith encouraged aspiring comedians here to go out and start performing, and said that comedy was an art form that one has to practise in the open to improve.
“Comedy is an art form that requires you to go on stage in front of people. You cannot practise it at home in front of a mirror, or with a video recorder. You have to face people.
“Be brave. Be yourself. Use your own voice,” Harith said.
He encouraged Malaysian comedians to be comfortable with their own style, and not to try to be what they are not.
“Don’t try to be anybody else. If you grew up in the kampung (village), don’t try and talk like someone from the city. Bring out who you really are,” Harith said.