Need some laughs to get you through the work week? Look no further than Dream Academy’s Happy Ever Laughter!
If everyone could just smile instead of frown, tell jokes instead of hurl hurtful insults, guffaw and slap their thighs instead of seethe and slap someone in the face, wouldn’t this world be a much better, happier place? After all, laughter is the best medicine.
That’s the general theme of Happy Ever Laughter, a Dream Academy production back for its third run since 2012. Directed by Hossan Leong, this year’s show features a mixed bag line-up of 11 local stand-up comedians, including returning favourites Kumar, Sebastian Tan, Siti Khalijah, Judee Tan, Rishi Budhrani, Fakkah Fuzz, Sharul Channa and Hossan himself, as well as first-timers Dee Kosh, Patricia Mok and Suhaimi Yusof. Over the span of two hours, each stand-up gets about 10 minutes of spotlight to fulfil their unmistakably daunting task of leaving the audience in stitches. And fulfil, they did, evidenced by the eruptions of laughter filling the entire Esplanade Theatre like a punctuation mark. (Props to the team of writers, Benjamin Mr Miyagi Lee, Edmund Tan, Alfian Sa’at, Jo Tan, Dwayne Lau, Josiah Ng and Leong Ching.)
Host Hossan’s infectious energy brilliantly set the tone for the show; comedic genius Fakkah Fuzz, who will soon be in Helsinki, Finland, to compete for the title of the funniest person in the world, was uproariously hilarious with his wordplay (for your imagination: “Ma, sakit! Sakit, Ma!”); Judee Tan, playing a deceptively mousy TCM practitioner, delved into American politics and gave a quack diagnosis of Donald Trump’s deteriorating health; while Sharul Channa had the audience burst into guffaws with her uncensored wit as she explained the true meaning of “namaste” and raved about the obituary section of The Straits Times.
The show’s biggest surprise was “virgin stand-up” Suhaimi Yusof. Despite his family-man image, Suhaimi was a riot with his double entendres that were risque without ever being tasteless. Plus, his self-deprecating humour about his size (“Fit is the past tense of fat!” he roared), coupled with his belly laugh at his own punchlines, made Suhaimi’s performance one to love and remember.
There were other highlights as well: Dee Kosh was unapologetically impish and loud as the Chindian Power 98FM DJ / YouTube personality made cracks about Indians and Chinese; Rishi Budhrani made a strong entrance with his hysterical joke about how he ought to be “Chindian”; while Siti Khalijah was a hoot as Singapore’s “second supermodel”, accurately describing the cliched types of Asian models that western agents are looking for.
But of course, as with every stand-up comedy performance, Happy Ever Laughter has its misses. Sebastian Tan, in true Broadway Beng fashion, spewed Hokkien lines and got his fans in a boisterous fit of laughter, but left non-Hokkien speaking audience confused and mostly unamused; Patricia Mok was likeable in her candid, unabashed self, but her material was thin at best; and Kumar, well, is Kumar – his no-holds-barred brand of humour could border on lewd, though it certainly wouldn’t disappoint his long-time fans.
Happy Ever Laughter is now showing at Esplanade Theatre till November 6, 2016. For tickets and more information, click here.