The highs and lows of Dream Academy's Happy Ever Laughter
Stand-up comedy isn't for everyone. It's a tricky craft to master and takes some serious guts, so we applaud anyone who succeeds — or at least tries to. Dream Academy — the theatre company behind Dim Sum Dollies, Broadway Beng and Meenah and Cheena — are back with Happy Ever Laughter in its third showing since 2012. The all-star lineup of 11 Singapore comedians sees the likes of Suhaimi Yusof, Patricia Mok, Kumar, Sebastian Tan, Siti Khalijah, Judee Tan, Rishi Budhrani, Fakkah Fuzz, Sharul Channa, Dee Kosh and Hossan Leong. Directed by Leong, the comics performed less than 10 minutes each over a span of two hours to the theme of "Laughter is the best medicine". Here's what you should look out for.
HIGH: Josephine Teo and her small space for sex Don't you just love it when bad sentences happen to good people? Or at least, ministers? Within a minute of bursting onto stage, host Hossan Leong took a stab at senior minister of state Josephine Teo's recent comments on parenthood, saying that we "don't need a lot of space to laugh out loud".
LOW: An unfortunate Brexit wordplay Leong's mention of Brexit — which has formed the base of many a stand-up set since the EU referendum last June — wasn't as slick as we hoped it would be. "Split-a-pore" did muster a few laughs though, egged on by the comedian's split on stage.
HIGH: Rexona is the way to go One of the three stand-up virgins, YouTube personality and radio DJ Dee Kosh poked fun at the Chinese and Indian race relations he often encounters as a "Chindian". He also dropped a hygiene tip, and mused on the fact that deodorants now come with whitening features. LOW: Patricia Mok's first foray into stand-up While we should definitely give the stand-up virgin credit where it's due, Patricia Mok's antics are perhaps best enjoyed in the confines of your telly at home. While she did spare an amusing snippet on breast implants, her set didn't quite take off till its end.
HIGH: Siti Khalijah's commentary on how the West views Asian women Playing the persona of a veteran model — think '80s and '90s Singapore supermodel Hanis Hussey — who married a Caucasian husband, among the fashion industry secrets she shared were clever observations of how one-dimensional western media and pop culture have portrayed Chinese, Malay and Indian women.
LOW: Broadway Beng's non-inclusive set People adore actor Sebastian Tan, no doubt — he is after all the talent fronting one of Singapore's most popular theatre shows, Broadway Beng. But his brand of comedy wasn't for everyone. Starting and filling in his set with Hokkien sentences and phrases that were lost on the non-Hokkien speaking members of the audience, some were spotted guffawing at his shenanigans while others bore puzzled and blank stares.
HIGH: Halal-certified comedienne Sharul Channa's hilarious take on Malaysia's recent hot dog controversy had the audience sore from belly-aching laughter. An ethnic Indian, she also asserted her own authenticity when dealing with her Caucasian yoga teacher and how the word "namaste" has an underlying meaning you've probably never heard of. We also applaud her sardonic, blink-and-you'll-miss-it jab at the legitimacy of local paper The Straits Times.
LOW: Soundtrack shenanigans Rishi Budhrani called out the show's racial profiling of the soundtrack, much to the audience's amusement. He had a point — while the Indian-nuanced introductory music was funny the first two rounds, the third time didn't quite have the same charm. HIGH: Donald Trump makes an appearance Judee Tan resorted to a timely jab at Donald Trump while sticking with the show's theme —Laughter is the best medicine — by alluding to the presidential candidate's mental health state. There was even a hilarious comparison of Trump's infamous "grab them by the p*ssy" line to the GrabCar app.
HIGH: Suhaimi Yusof wasn't the comic you were expecting The comedian's wholesome, family-friendly persona on television is something you're already familiar with, so you'll be in for a surprise when you find out that some of the show's most crude lines are escaping from Suhaimi Yusof's lips. After letting it rip by inserting Malay slang in some Transformers and Star Wars dialogue, the comedian went on to amuse the audience with good old, classic fat jokes.
HIGH: Kumar delivers a class act They say you should always save the best for last — and in this case, the show has done right by ending the night with Kumar. The loud and proud personality is undoubtedly Singapore's funniest man and woman combined, unleashing his thoughts on senior minister Teo and why the world needs sexy nurses.
Happy Ever Laughter is running till 6 November at the Esplanade Theatre. For tickets, click here.