"Acting is the ability to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances." -- Sanford Meisner


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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Instant Comedy - Laffio 29Jan2015

The day has finally come for the first installation of Instant Comedy at Restaurant Laffio, 337 Beach Road, Singapore. It was brilliant - full house with tickets sold out before the event.

I have my material fairly tested by now at Scape and Comedy Club Asia and its delivery adjusted to the audience's reactions on the fly on the very night. Hard doing that while remembering the content and flow.

It was a very lively and supportive crowd. Thank you very much. Sorry I cannot give all of you a free bottle of wine.

Here is the gig:

What I have learned:

  1. Content is king and content in context is bigger king, BUT content in context, in good timing is King of Kings. Therefore, content is only 50%. The other 50% is delivery. It is important to eliminate stammers and unnecessary words, and improve body language. 
  2. Interact with the audience. I think I did well this time, but that makes remembering the script harder. More rehearsals would have helped.
  3. Always plan for a soft landing, in case your punchline bombed. It worked!
  4. Assess the audience well and quickly. If something does not work, drop it, don't let it die a painful slow death.
  5. It is possible to have breakout laughters without sex and profanity.

The next event will be on:
Date: 12th Feb 2015 (Thursday)
Time: 7.30pm

Hotel Jen, Orchard Gateway Singapore, 
277 Orchard Road, Singapore 238858. 
Lounge@Jen, Level 10
(Nearest MRT Somerset)

For other posts about comedy, click here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Instant Comedy

I am into standup comedy. I wrote my material, got them tested and am now in the performing circuit.

I need Standup. After some time as a film actor, one can easily be dictated by scripted dialogues, camera angles and directors' visions of how a performance ought to go. Then, spontanaeity goes out of the window.

 I think Standup is one of the hardest form of improv acting, as the performer has to adjust to the audience, on the fly. He has to think on his feet and yet be on his toes. Now is that possible? These are what I have learned on the job so far:

1. Don't try to be funny
Don't try to make people laugh. Just go on stage and be enthusiastic. Everyone loves a high spirit.

2. Don't try to tell stories
Stories are too logical. Humour is often not. They are usually surprisingly cruel. Sometimes the more cruel they are, the more laughters you get.

3. Talk to the audience
Interact. Get them involved.

I bet there will be lots more that I have to learn. It is a job that can only be practised with a live audience. Dead ones are more challenging, but they will lift your performance to even greater heights.

The moral of the story here is to get started and jump into the deep end. If you happened to have led a miserable and troubled life, then don't despair, for you are more than likely to have an unfair advantage. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you.

Come and support us on:

Date/Time: 29th January 2015, 7.30pm

Place: Laffio, 337 Beach Road, Singapore 199565

There will be other comics performing that night too!


The sound recording is bad, so I have a transcript of the first minute or so...

...as a very angry and frustrated man. So I was thinking,... how I was as a newbie, how I can get into character of such a big role

So I observed how sergeant majors behave, researched on them, scripted Singlish and military lingo, practised them over and over again , and finally, abstained from sex. 


It worked. I won the Best Performance Award... for acting as a frustrated sergeant major.

So I thought it was good news right? So I went home and told my wife that I won the Best Performance Award, she said, "I am not surprised!".


Ok, some of you didn't get it... probably because you are getting it every night.


If you are wondering which sergeant major that was, it is none other than the famous Warrant Officer Lee Teck Hong in Hentak Kaki, For more, click here.

For more posts about comedy, click here.

Tin Kosong

Tin Kosong is a short film adapted for Utter 2014 (The Singapore Writers' Festival) from a novel of the same name,  written by Mohammed Salleh, It is directed by Mr Sanif Olek. 

The film is about a Malay man who lives in a make-belief that his wife and family are all well and with him, He spends his time doing odd jobs and collecting empty tin cans to be sold for scrap.

The production overran a little on the day of my shoot, I think it was due to the dance sequences in the preceding scenes. My scene was captured just in time during the golden hour of sunset amid the lovely art-deco buildings at Tiong Bahru, Singapore. 

I was directed to set my eyes on the empty cans in the scene, what was treasure in their little word. The cameraman captured the nuances of the ambiguous intentions spot on, though no words were spoken. I think Mr Khalid Baboo also fleshed out the vulnerable and tired character very convincingly.

There was no audition for me for this role, my suitability probably based on a similar Malay speaking Chinese man role I did in Utter 2013.

I am getting used to acting in Malay. Besides the two Utter films I acted in, I have also acted in some Suria TV (Malay Channel) dramas. In all the productions, they always want me to deliver like how a Chinese man normally speaks (Malay), with slangs like "Gua" for "Saya" (me) and "Lu" for "Anda" (you).  Both which are words derived from Hokkien and propagated by the Peranakans. Ironically, that makes it more difficult as I only studied standard Malay in school. :)

Here is an interview with the director...

And here is the film proper...

For more films in Malay in this blog, click here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


"Checkmate" is Willy Yong's final year project at NAFA (Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts) in the Year 2014. He wrote and directed the ten-minute film about a disillusioned man going through counselling in prison for the murder of his wife. The dialogue is long and pompous and cleverly spiced with metaphors of chess to illustrate the many trappings of a failed marriage.

Originally, Willy intended the counsellor to be a man, but I suggested to him to change it to a lady character for added intrigue. Dr Lee, played by Amy Yan, represents the conscience of the disillusioned man, complete with prim, proper and polished English.

The script and cast were confirmed only a few days before the shoot. There was no time for rehearsals as the project had to be completed before their course officially ends. I also happened to have several other shoots during that period and only had time to memorise the dialogue on set. It was hard as they were not lines one hears everyday, but of those depicting the harsh reality of a failed marriage with the cynicism and ego of a badly dejected mind.

Here is the film proper...

For other NAFA films I have acted in, click here.