First published on 2 Sep 2010. Updated on 12 Feb 2012.
If you’re funny, and you’ve got friends, chances are that sooner or later one of them is going to suggest a life in showbiz. We’ve all heard this one: ‘You’re hilarious,’ says friend. ‘You should be on stage.’
Open-mic comedy nights, like the new one at BluJaz Café (11 Bali Ln; 6292 3800, www.blujaz.net) taking place every second Wednesday of the month, owe their very existence to that old platitude. Some funny people are wise enough to take their pal’s encouragement as nought but a verbal backslap. Others take it to heart and head to the stage to make their first foray into stand-up comedy – a world that’s terrifying, painful (for both performer and audience) and unforgiving in equal measure.
Still, even in Singapore, there’s no shortage of would-be comics willing to stand up and be laughed at. ‘On our first night we had eight people apply,’ says BluJaz’s marketing manager Benjamin Raymonenq at August’s instalment of Stand-Up for Singapore. ‘Tonight we’ve had over 15; we’ve had to turn people away.’
The show opens to a packed room and the first of eight amateurs makes a not wholly unexpected shaky portent for the rest of the night with a vaguely amusing, half-baked dadat-the-zoo routine. But surprisingly, despite a few more glitches, the comedy stays remarkably surefooted with the majority, local Singaporean stand-ups making acidic, self-deprecating jibes about politics, bonkers national self-obsession and racism.
Refreshingly, what you get here that you don’t get anywhere else is Singaporeans taking the p**s out of themselves rather than paying some Western import to do it for them. We peak with Faz, a young, animated Malay who waxes deftly on the racial riffs between Singapore’s Malay and Chinese communities with all the self-assured swagger of a young Eddie Murphy. He, like the tyros before him, is surprisingly sophisticated. So if you’re set on trying out your comic chops here, a warning: the standard is high.
'Stand-Up for Singapore' is at BluJaz Café every second Wednesday of the month at 8.30pm. Go to www. thecomedyclub.asia for more information. Entry $10.
This story first appeared as 'Try out your comedy chops at BluJaz' (Sep 2010).