Laugh It Off

You walk around with a frown, cry buckets when the news comes on, and mutter “life sucks” religiously three times (or more) a day. Now, before you reach for those anti-depressants tucked snuggly under your tear-drenched pillow, we prescribe you an age old medicine that has surpassed the test of time—laughter. Check out these comedy acts who are handing out in this drug in generous amounts.
Madcap Improvisation
For some quick improvisational action, catch local veteran comedy group The Madhatters (Apr 4, May 2, Jun 6, 8pm. Play Den, The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane, 6332-6900). Core members are Roger Jenkins, Alision Lester, Christina Sergeant, Raymond Tan and Ken Ngo. These wacky individuals have had many laughing themselves into stitches since the early ’90s, and are eager to make you flash those whites too.
Like the comedy television show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, audiences are encouraged to throw outrageous suggestions at this comedy group. Watch these quick-witted comedians weave stories and play games on the spot. The last time we caught The Madhatters, we were enlightened on the relation between Atlantis, “the oppositional Member of Parliament” and “having no tongue.” We expect to discover more links between other seemingly unrelated objects or situations in their future performances. As Roger Jenkins quips, “No two shows are ever the same. It’s like you know you are going to cook a soup, but you have no idea what kind of soup it is going to be. The audience will suggest the ingredients.” It’s spontaneous and unpredictable humor at its best.
Goofy Theater
Acclaimed comedians David Collins and Shane Dundas call themselves the Umbilical Brothers (Apr 20-22, 8pm. Victoria Theatre, 9 Empress Place, 6338-8283), This duo, whose ambition is world domination, is putting up a wild comedy theater “Speedmouse” that’ll make you guffaw with delight.
This comedy theater, which has dashes of slapstick elements, has traveled to New Zealand, Scotland and Australia. The story revolves around the efforts of the Umbilical Brothers as they try to ensure a television comedy show goes smoothly. Someone is meddling with the remote control and hindering their progress, however, by rewinding, fast forwarding, or freezing the scenes.
Needless to say, with their creative jokes and antics, we weren’t surprised to discover that The Umbilical Brothers had drawn laughs from animals as well as humans. As they say, “We tried our act in front of rhesus monkeys before. They laughed at everything, even the bits that weren’t jokes.”
Zany Standup Action
If you dig standup comedy, there are a few hotspots you should hit. The 1NiteStand Bar & Comedy Club (#01-04 Blk. A, Clarke Quay, 3 River Valley Rd., 6334-1954) is one of them. It is flying in a slew of international acts such as UK’s Rudi Lickwood, Nick Wilty and Alan Bates (Mar 29-Apr 1, Apr 5-6, 8pm). We recommend looking out for Iranian comedian Shappi Khorsandi (also known as “The Box Ticker”). This endearing performer is going to deliver tales that’ll make you fall head over heels in love with her. Like she said, “My show is like eating low calorie ice cream. You’ll love me.”
DBS Arts Centre (20 Merbau Rd., 6733-8166) is going to be transformed into a haven of laughs too. With the arrival of the Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow (Mar 29-Apr 2, 8pm) comes some outstanding and eccentric comedy acts. Catch Maria Bamford, who loves a pug in a railroad conductor uniform, Dave Callan, who may well be the hairiest Australian comedian, or David O’Doherty, who has written stories about bee detectives. The 4 Noels, a trio consisting of Jess Griffin, Hohn Forman and James Pratt, will be joining in the fun as well.
For some sass, head down to Happy (#01-02/03/04 21 Tanjong Pagar Rd., 6227-7400). Besides hilarious jokes, local drag queen Rima S. (Every second Fri of the month, midnight) also adds in elements of miming and lip synching in her monthly standup act. Expect sharp humor that will chase the blues away from this smooth entertainer who has performed in Neptune Theatre, Zouk and the now defunct Boom Boom Room. “What I do is to help all the sad souls learn to take things with a big spoonful of sugar! And, what the heck, learn to laugh at others!” she insists.
We love Gold Dust (#02-11 Orchard Towers, 1 Claymore Dr., 6235-7170) for being a hotbed for thought–provoking social satire. As the equally hot resident diva Kumar (Every Mon-Sat, 9pm) claims, “I want people to have a good laugh and go home thinking they’ll come again, and that I make a lot of sense. It’s my way of making Singaporeans look at serious issues such as politics and the education system in a lighter way.”
Now that Kumar has teamed up with local veteran band Speedway in his nightly revues, Gold Dust will be jam-packed with rock ’n’ roll tunes too.
If laughter is the best medicine, comedians are the best doctors. With so many excellent practitioners around, there is just no place left for frowns. We invite you to giggle, chuckle, chortle or snigger away.