"Re-cy-cle. That's what we do..."

Putting up a stand-up comedy show is hard. Putting up a stand-up comedy show in Malaysia is harder. Meeting the expectations of the Malaysian audience, much much harder.

Especially when it comes to repeating / recycling jokes.

I can't blame the Malaysian audience. Most aren't comedians or joke writers, let alone be privy to the workings of 'a joke'. As a comedian myself, I'd like to think of jokes as a comedian's children. A joke (usually) starts off as a grain of thought, just like how we human's start off in life as a sperm. This grain of thought, and just like a sperm, will gradually grow, hopefully, into a fully grown adult. But of course, humans reach adulthood in 21 years. Jokes, however, might reach that stage faster and sometimes, slower, depending how dedicated a comedian is. I have been writing jokes for 7 years, and one of my first jokes began it's life as a minute long gag and now, it's has developed into a 8-minute long joke set. I am still developing this joke. Just like how we humans can't top 'developing' as a person.

Developing jokes, from a grain of thought into the perfect infectious laughter trigger, is a lot of work. Somehow, comedians have this habit, this insatiable quest to find the right words, the right tone of voice, or the right pair of shoes to make a joke work, no matter how long the joke is. Sometimes, whilst marinating in a pot of ideas for jokes, one joke occupies our thoughts more than most and we can't move on this one bloody joke is perfected. Such are our ways. And long story short, jokes take time to develop.

So, to assume that comedians are able to churn out joke sets or whole new stand-up comedy shows in a matter a few months is just ridiculous. Ridiculously stupid. Comics don't even shit funny when their stomachs are feeling funny. Comedy is the only form of performing arts where the audience constantly expect something new. No, really. Have you ever been to a Coldplay concert then complain you didn't hear any new songs? As a comedian, I'd like to say sorry for this. We don't have a comedy farm where we can pluck the freshest jokes and throw it away before the joke starts to smell. 

Jokes are much like porn movies - First time, OH YEAH! Second time, not so YEAH more. 

You may want argue that "those Americans, UK, Mozambican, etc are doing it so why not us Malaysian comedians." Well, let's do some simple math. There are around 15 shows in KL in a month and around 25 active performers to rotate from. Now, let's say you watch all the show. Chance are, you may be able to recite some of the jokes as early as week 5, depending on your memory and attention span. In that same period, you might also hear a few new jokes but hey, guess what, those jokes are still at their infant stage.

Oh, why are we so slow compared to the rest of the world? People tend to compare Malaysian comedy with the US, UK, etc etc. Well, they have an industry. An industry that is many years ahead of us, in terms of quality, sustainability (to live as a comedian) and talent. WTF am I saying, we don't even have an 'industry' in Malaysia. We don't even have enough comedians to make a bloody Harlem Shake video.

In the States, believe it or not, some comedians have 5 to 25 writers working for them and all they have to do is to come up with an hour-long HBO Special and BAM! 

"The comedian is suddenly world famous! Loved by all Malaysians! Downloaded by all Malaysians! Malaysian comedy will never be at their level!" 

Hello. They have 51 states to tour and by the time, they are done, a year has passed and one fucking year is more than enough for 25 writers to come up with another HBO Special. How is anyone going to complain about these 'greats' repeat jokes? Unless, you're a roadie. 

We Malaysians only have Kuala Lumpur. That town ain't big enough to escape from recycled jokes. So, if you find yourself allergic to recycled jokes, perhaps you can wait for a year, and I guarantee you, you'll get your own hour-long Malaysian HBO Special.


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