Not fair to suspend licence without prior warning, say comedy club founders


PETALING JAYA: It is highly prejudicial and unfair to suspend the operating licence for the Crackhouse Comedy Club and seal it without prior written notice, say its founders and a group of top comedians.

Rizal Van Geyzel and Shankar R. Santhiram also urged Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to rescind the decision to suspend the club's licence, saying it was "heavy handed and done without due process".

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"In our eight years of existence, this type of incident has never once occurred at the club.

"We urge the authorities to take stern action against the individual for any breach of the law, without penalising the club that had no part to play in this individual's actions," they said in a joint statement with local comedy acts on Tuesday (July 12).

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The comedy club's operations was suspended on July 10 after a video clip of a stand-up comedy routine, said to be insulting to Islam, went viral.

The 54-second-long video shows a woman wearing a headscarf and baju kurung, who speaks about memorising Quranic verses.

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She unexpectedly starts taking off her headscarf and outer dress, revealing a mini skirt and spaghetti strap blouse underneath, before yelling out a greeting with an expletive to the audience.

The video ends without showing the rest of her act.

ALSO READ: Cops nab boyfriend of woman in controversial video

On July 11, the comedy club's premises was sealed by DBKL.

The statement also said that the woman's actions were pre-meditated.

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"It is standard operating procedure at all comedy venues to inform performers – including at open-mic nights – that there are two unassailable rules.

"Performers are not allowed to touch on royalty and royal institutions in Malaysia as well as on any religion, but the performer disregarded these two rules.

"The woman committed an unacceptable act and left the stage as soon as she disrobed.

"The said performance was recorded and released by the individual on her own social media accounts without the knowledge or permission of the Crackhouse," the statement read.

The club informed her that she had violated the rules and regulations of the club and immediately banned her from the premises.

The statement also said that the club's management made a police report because the woman had posted a video of the performance as it is the practice of the club not to allow recordings.

Local comedians who signed the statement supporting the club include Harith Iskander, Douglas Lim, Jason Leong, Andrew Netto, Shamaine Othman, Kavin Jayaram, Phoon Chi Ho Kuah Jenhan, Joanne Kam and Muhd Fadzri @ Fakkah Fuzz.

On July 11, The Star reported that DBKL would issue a show-cause letter to Crackhouse Comedy Club as it has been operating without the correct licence.

Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Jalaluddin Alias said the comedy club had been operating with a restaurant licence, not an entertainment licence.

"Crackhouse can appeal within 14 days and apply for the entertainment licence, and this falls under the purview of the DBKL licensing committee," he said.

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