By Zedeck Siew
Why the ComeBackKings?
The first time we performed we were just a bunch of seniors in Taylor’s College’s drama club, doing a half-time show. We weren’t a group or anything yet. But the lecturers called us the ComeBackKings because we ‘came back’ to help with the final year production — even though some of us had already left Taylor’s at that point. Later, when we decided to stick together and perform at functions, we figured we’d go with that name, too.
Why become comedians at all? Life is a vale of tears.
We would phrase it as: “Life is full of shit; but it’s how we flush it down that matters.” We decided to flush ours down by making smiles. As cliché-d as it sounds, laughter is the best medicine.
Who are your influences? Why?
If we were to pick it would probably be: Robin Williams; Jim Carrey — that’s a guy who can get everyone in stitches just by his facial expressions; and Jimmy Fallon — he has a funny outlook to almost anything, so he makes humour seem like an artistic form of science!
What do you guys do to psyche yourselves up before a show?
Nothing in particular; we just make sure we have fun before the show starts. That takes off most of nervousness, but on the other hand it really depends on the crowd.
Any stories from previous performances?
In a show we did last year, while we were on stage, there were these drunken men in the back, shouting “Pondan!” at the top of their voices. For no reason at all. We still think they enjoyed it.
There was this other show we did, at a corporate dinner for an international bank. The client wanted to spice things up, so the event manager suggested we do an impromptu pole dance. We did it! It was an eye-opening experience, especially for the dinner guests.
How do you think people will react to an open-mic stand-up session?
Pretty hard to say. Our guess is a majority in the audience would expect nothing more than a ‘high-school’ effort. But the beauty of it is that the minority — who think otherwise — are enough to support our local talent. All we can do is hope people will receive the new talents that Free Flow will showcase with open arms.
What do you think about Malaysia’s plans to send astronauts into space to make teh tarik?
It’s a very unique form of publicity. Let’s try selling kopi o ais on Pluto, next. 15 years from now there will be many un-licensed mamak corners all over the galaxy! If we send a certain Malaysian politician up there, he might build toll plazas …
Tell us your worst jokes.
“Two Malaysian astronauts walk into a bar and ask for a teh tarik.” And: “What do you call a parrot that loves hand-phone ring-tones?”
What’s irony to you?
The ComeBackKings say: “You stress up all night doing an assignment, only to realise the next day that the assignment is due in two weeks,” or: “Owning a car and lecturing smokers on how they are polluting the environment.”
A really horrible Internet personality test determines that you are a 1980s cartoon superhero coalition. Who would you be and why?
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, of course. We have our own traits, our own way of doing things, and we are cool in our own way!
The ComeBackKings are Phoon Chi Ho, Matthew Ho, Rishaad Bakshani, Nigesh Armon, Yee Munn Joon and Mathew George. They perform as the opening act for Free Flow, which will also feature luminaries such as Jit Murad, Harith Iskander, and Joanne Kam. Thu 19 – Sun 22, Oct 2006, at the Actors Studio Bangsar. Entrance by RM10 donation.
The above interview first appeared in the Weekend Mail’s Sat 7 & Sun 8, Oct 2006 edition.
First Published: 16.10.2006 on Kakiseni