Being funny is no joke

Being funny is no joke
Muhammad Fadzri Abd Rashid who prefers to go by his stage name, Fakkah Fuzz, a local stand-up comedian, during a performance.

For him, laughter is gold.

Pacing rapidly back and forth on the stage, Muhammad Fadzri Abd Rashid rattles on, his delivery punctuated by loud guffaws from the audience.

He says that he has been heckled only a handful of times, but other performers have received worse reactions. In one instance, a member of the audience hurled a shoe at a comedian on stage.

"He threatened to throw the other shoe at him after the comedian responded with a witty comeback," says the 28-year-old performer, who prefers to go by his stage name, Fakkah Fuzz.

It can get disappointing when his jokes are not well-received, he says.

"It's one thing when one person doesn't laugh at your joke. "But when 300 people don't laugh, you feel like killing yourself."

He adds that he starts perspiring profusely when such a situation occurs. Soldiering on calmly is the most effective way to smooth over the awkwardness that comes with an unresponsive crowd.

"It's important not to show your nervousness or look scared. Whatever happens, it's your job to bring the room back to a light-hearted mood."

Before becoming a stand-up comedian last year, he worked in a wide variety of jobs, including stuntman and paintball instructor. Mr Fadzri, who holds a diploma in mass communications, says he enjoyed playing the jester from a young age.

"I used to get into trouble at school because I made the class laugh at inappropriate times. "I also made fun of my sister's weight, which I realised was a bad idea after we both grew up."

These days, he hosts a comedy evening every last Friday of the month at Butter Factory, and performs stand-up routines at corporate and public events. He also acts in television shows. Even though successful comedians get laughs from a crowd, they often struggle with a darker side themselves, he reveals. Mr Fadzri says he knows more than a few who, like the late actor Robin Williams, struggled privately with depression.

"I'm not quite sure why it happens. Perhaps it's because they focus so much on making other people laugh that they forget themselves. It's hard to find that balance," he says.

When the news of Williams' suicide broke, Mr Fadzri received a text message from his mother.

"She said: 'If you're going through anything, please let me know.'"

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