Godfather of Malaysian stand-up comedy, Harith Iskander , spills his wit with us this month as he talks all things from his new TV show to feminism.
MC: We love that your show Obviously Harith Iskander (OHI), is based on one of those late night shows from the US that we’re familiar with, but how far do you think you’d be able to push your ‘freedom of humour’?
I’ve been doing stand-up comedy professionally for 25 years so I’m well versed about the ‘limits’ and restrictions we have here in Malaysia as far as ‘freedom of humour’ goes. I don’t really see this as too much of an issue.
MC: Who are the guests you have in mind, and why do you want them on your show? Do they have to fit a certain bill?
First and foremost the guests I would like to have are those who have an ‘interesting story’ to tell. I want to reveal a certain aspect of the guest that the audience may not have seen before. They may not necessarily be celebrities but as long as they are personalities, I would love to talk to them.
MC: How would you describe your comedy/sense of humour?
If I had to describe it, then it would have to be eclectic. In the sense that humour is so difficult to pin down – different people find different things funny. I need to be able to ride all the different waves of humour so that I can reach out to the widest audience possible. The show is not about me ‘syiok sendiri’, it’s about appealing to a wider demographic who are in tune with what’s going on and are open to seeing the lighter side of things.
MC: Women love funny guys. Do you think that sense of humour should be a pre-requisite for every man? What’s your take on it?
Yes women SAY they love funny guys … but they end up going for ‘bad boys’. So if you’re a bad boy with a sense of humour then you’ve got it made.
MC: You’re very passionate when it comes to issues about women. Would you consider yourself a feminist, and what is feminism to you?
I find that most of the times, ‘women’s issues’ are in fact, men’s issues. My mother was a woman (as are most mothers) and therefore wanting what’s best for a woman should often be paramount in a man’s mind. Most men shy away from the word ‘feminism’ only because it has the connotation of being about ‘females’ and therefore, not male.
MC: What kind of a man would you say you are?
That’s an incredibly difficult question to answer. Cause how I see myself will probably not tally with how others experience me. (For example: I see myself as a 6’4” well built demigod with a body to die for).
MC: Will OHI be back for another round in the months to come ?
It most certainly will! This is called sourcing – the power of attraction. Ask for it and it shall be. The show is just too good with too many great people working on it for it NOT to continue.
MC: What’s your perfect audience like? What kind of people do you think gets your humour most?
So far the live audiences we have been getting have been amazing. (*The show is shot in front of a live studio audience). They have become an integral part of the show and really bring an amazing energy which helps my guests and me. As far as the audiences who are watching at home and online are concerned I can’t really say what the ‘perfect’ audience consists of. I think most of my humour is pretty accessible to most people – and even if it isn’t, there’s always something in the show that will appeal to most people.
MC: What’s the best part of being Malaysian, in your opinion?
I have to admit, that question is getting to be more difficult to answer. I would still have to say most Malaysians are the best part about being Malaysian. Ironically, a few Malaysians are also the worst part about being Malaysian.
MC: Do funny men get serious too? What do you get serious about?
Most ‘funny’ people are extremely serious. Me, being a case in point. I am serious about almost everything. Except when I’m on stage.
For more info and to watch past shows, head over to www.obviouslyharith.com!