Actor-comedian Harith Iskander answers your 10 questions

  • Business
  • Saturday, 04 Dec 2010

If you could change one item for the betterment of the nation, what would that be?

Bulbir Singh, Seremban

I would place detonator bombs under the yellow boxes at traffic light junctions and when cars get stuck on the yellow boxes (thereby blocking traffic and causing traffic jams), the device goes off and the cars get flung into the air and clear the road.

How do you keep up with your stand-up comedy? Most Malaysians don't actually understand stand-ups, rather they look upon it as lawak bodoh. I salute you for that. Rick D.L. Sarawak

I think, in general, Malaysians DO have a sense of humour and DO appreciate stand-up comedy. Especially now with the Internet and exposure to the art form. The stand-up comedy scene is growing and has a great future.

Non-scientifically speaking, would you agree that laughter is still the best medicine? Tabitha CC Boi, Penang

There are many stressful jobs and occupations in Malaysia nursing, air traffic controllers, teachers in local secondary schools, etc and all these people need a release. Laughter is indeed one of the BEST forms of release.

You seem to be a perpetually-jovial person. Have you ever been sad or worried? Bernard KH Lim, Penang

Although I seem to be, I can assure you that I am absolutely NOT a perpetually jovial person (my wife will testify to that). I get sad and worried all the time the latest being sad and worried that I won't be able to answer these questions entertainingly enough.

Can you make real money from comedy in Malaysia? Catherine Lee, Malacca

Real money is relative. Compared to the average Malaysian who is working as a toll booth collector yes, I DO make real money.

But compared to ... hmmm, what hypothetical example can I give here? ... compared to your average Malaysian who is hypothetically linked to a hypothetical high ranking member of a hypothetical political party and has hypothetical access to securing hypothetical multi-million dollar government contracts then, NO, I am NOT making REAL MONEY.

What/Who is your greatest inspiration? Melanie Dass, Petaling Jaya

I got my sense of humour from my late mother. And she was my biggest fan.

What are your favourite books, do you even read serious stuff? Kathy Fong, Cheras

Mitch Albom's Tuesdays With Morrie ... but mostly I like comedy so I just read our daily papers.

What projects are you currently working on? Sebastian Chew, Cameron Highlands

I am co-writing the script for Lat, The Kampung Boy The Musical with Kuah Jenhan. It will be performed at Istana Budaya in March 2011

What is your concept of 1Malaysia? Lim Ai Lee, Ipoh

Unfortunately I don't have a concept for it as it appears to be a concept in itself. As long as we have major/ruling political parties separated by race and/or religion, Malaysians will continue to struggle with such concepts.

How do you separate reallife from your work?> When you are stressed, how do you avoid bringing that to your work since your work largely involves making people happy?Anand, Jalan Gasing, PJ

I think I don't have it any worse than any other person when it comes to separating real life from work. At the end of the day, you just got to get on with the job at hand and not worry too much about it. The only one time I had to pull out of a show was on the day the Highland Towers collapsed (Dec 11, 1993). Apart from having friends who were trapped in the building, I felt it wasn't appropriate to carry on with a stand-up comedy show in view of the events unfolding.


Politician, lawyer and human rights activist SIVARASA RASIAH is the co-founder of Suara Rakyat Malaysia or Suaram (a human rights NGO) and vicepresident of Parti Keadilan Rakyat. He is also MP for Subang. It was in Britain, where he completed his law degree and Bar, that his activist instincts were honed. Siva was arrested twice during the 1998 Reformasi period.

Any burning questions to ask him? Email

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