Gajen Nad's 'Chindian' roots livens up Malaysian comedy's cultural melting pot


Gajen has put together some of his best jokes from the past four years of performances, plus new material, for his first one-hour special 'Professional Mixed Breed' to be held at PJPAC on Aug 26 and 27. Photo: Thoughtshots

After an emotional and memorable homecoming show series in George Town, Penang last weekend, stand-up comedian Gajen Nad is now raring to unleash his first one-hour special Professional Mixed Breed at the Petaling Jaya Performing Arts Centre (PJPac) in Selangor on Aug 26 and 27.

"I'm still buzzing from my homecoming shows! I would like to thank everyone who attended my comedy special in Penang. Couldn't have asked for a better crowd. Their laughter blew the roof off. I can't wait to perform for folks in Selangor and KL," says Gajen.

The upcoming shows, produced by Laugh Labs Entertainment, will collect the sharp-witted comedian's best material to date (spanning four years of live shows).

Gajen's gigs will also be juiced up with new jokes and he might even bring out a newly tailored suit for the occasion.

“I will be bringing my A-grade material on stage – my tailor-made wool suit. And some jokes. This show is the culmination of my favourite bits from my stand-up comedy career. I will be talking about my family, career, travelling, dating, education and, of course, being mixed,” he adds.

The Penang-born comedian is “Chindian” (Chinese and Indian parentage), and you can see where he was clearly inspired in naming his upcoming showcase series Professional Mixed Breed.

In his past corporate life, Gajen was an IT consultant with a degree in mechanical engineering. Stand-up comedy started as a part-time gig, then he took a leap of faith and quit his job to chase his dream of making people laugh.

“Yes, this is still what I want to do ever since the first time I went up on stage back in February 2012. Well, laughing is good but making others laugh is even better. But if I want a laugh, I just check my bank balance,” he says candidly.

For six years, he was a corporate slave by day and a stand-up comedian by night before he left his day job.

So what does a career in comedy offer him that the corporate world doesn’t?

“Poverty. Just joking. It’s control. I have better control over my own time, workload, meetings, clients, work material – which in this case are jokes. These led to a better work-life balance, freedom of speech, career path, understanding of myself and other matters that distract people of my generation from fighting for higher minimum wage,” he says.

If you are wondering what kind of evening it will be with Gajen in the room, rest assured that it will be good, clean fun, because he stays away from religious, sex and political jokes.

“I don’t even swear in my performances. I chose this route because I like challenges and it also suits my personality,” he notes.

During the lockdown, Gajen, like many others, had to pivot from live comedy to virtual gigs.

But just because the world is reopening and live shows are back on track, he doesn’t think that we should shelf online performances.

“Having comedy on virtual platforms is one way companies can engage with employees worldwide. I think in 2030, there might be VR comedy but it will start with the same line as every virtual gig: ‘Can you hear me?’. And you never know when another pandemic will happen,” he says.

Still, there is no substitute for live performances, this much he will say.

“Live comedy will remain because as humans, there is that need to see another human being. It is great to be in a room together with an audience, feeling their energy and vibing with them.

"The energy from a live audience is always amazing but my favourite part is the compliments from the audience after the show. The most memorable compliment I got after a stand-up comedy show was, ‘Gajen, love your motivational talk’,” he relates.

And is he as funny “in real life” as he is when performing on stage?

He doesn’t need to think very hard about the answer.

“Of course not,” he deadpans. “I am not getting paid.”

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Gajen Nad , Comedy , PJPac , stand-up , show , Malaysia

   

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