SINGAPORE - Local comedian and motormouth Mark Lee, 45, may dominate television with his endless stream of comic performances, but it seems that his wife wears the pants at home.
He says, self-deprecatingly: "A lot of people tell my wife, so lucky, you can laugh every day. Then my wife tells me, 'No need. Never tell me your jokes'."
However, he is more than happy to share them with the public and will be one of 13 performers dishing out a steady stream of laughs in Dream Academy's sophomore edition of the stand-up comedy evening, Happy Ever Laughter.
The 11/2-hour show at the Esplanade Theatre will run from April 16 to 27 and feature a mix of fresh and familiar faces performing short comic vignettes of under 10 minutes each.
Some crowd favourites include well-known actor Adrian Pang, Sebastian "Broadway Beng" Tan, Singapore Boy Hossan Leong, two-thirds of the Dim Sum Dollies, Pam Oei and Selena Tan, as well as drag queen Kumar.
Popular actresses Judee Tan, Siti Khalijah and Karen Tan are also on the list.
Lee, who will be joking about his career in show business, is excited to be working with the likes of Pang and Leong.
"They are very different from me. They are very ang moh and I'm very heartlander and local. They are ang moh speakers, I'm a Hokkien speaker," he says. "So for me, it's really a good chance to learn from them. But I don't know if they will learn from me or not."
There are several up-and-coming younger comedians in the line-up who are excited to be rubbing shoulders with comedians of Lee's ilk.
One of them is 27-year-old Muhammad Fadzri Abdul Rashid, who goes by the stage name Fuzz.
Fadzri, who often riffs on current affairs, has built a following in the stand-up circuit over the past four years. He has performed in Malaysia and Australia, and also does hosting work and corporate gigs.
He tells Life! that he was always the class clown in school.
"In secondary school, the kids who were more athletic used to pick on me. But then, I realised that if I could make them laugh - that's a free pass. They're not going to bully you if you make them laugh," he says.
"This whole making people laugh thing is a good weapon. So I used that in school, but I never thought I would do it as a career. It was just ammunition. But through the years, I never realised that I still had that weapon with me. And as with any kind of weapon, you have to sharpen it every day, or else it becomes a blunt weapon and you can't use it any more."
Dream Academy's founder Selena Tan, 42, who is directing and also performing in the show, says it will have something for everyone because of the sheer variety of comedians on stage.
She says she has learnt from the first edition of Happy Ever Laughter, which was staged last year.
She says: "We're trying to give the comedians free rein, so that every comedian that you listen to or watch on stage really has something different about them, really a different voice and a different kind of laughter that they bring to the crowd.
"I found that when they got on stage and they were comfortable with the audience, they tended to play around with the audience and the audience always appreciates that much more."
This article was published on April 7 in The Straits Times.
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