Standing up for comedy club

KUALA LUMPUR: Yellow tape criss-crossed the entrance of the Crackhouse Comedy Club here, whose operations have been suspended amid the storm over an offensive act by a stand-up performer.

A red notice on the entrance reads that the premises is sealed under Section 101(1)(v) of the Local Government Act.

It did not indicate the duration of the closure.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), when contacted, acknowledged that the premises was sealed but did not provide further details.

Following the controversy, many people voiced their defence of the club, saying that it was an “innocent party”.

Investigation should focus on the perpetrators, not the venue, said Arts, Live Festival and Events Association president Rizal Kamal, and Trade group coalition Industries Unite co-founder Datuk David Gurupatham in a joint statement.

“The incident involved an open mic performer who used provocative methods to elicit a shock response from the audience,” they said.

They said these activities were not condoned by the industry and had instead tarnished efforts to promote comedy and entertainment in the country.

“We would like to give our support to the venue, which for eight years has provided a platform for comedians to hone their craft.

“Please allow the venue to continue operations with minimal disruption,” they said.

Merdekarya, a live music venue known for open mic nights, said the suspension, though temporary, was wrong.

An open mic is an event where anyone is welcome to perform music or stand-up comedy.

“Merdekarya and Crackhouse KL often organise open mics to discover new talents.

“Open mics are also the most effective way to give an opportunity to local artistes to hone their talent and get stage experience,” said Merdekarya on Facebook.

Celebrity Datuk Afdlin Shauki said it was unfair to shutter the venue, noting that clubs like Crackhouse had contributed a lot to Malaysia’s entertainment scene despite not being profitable.

“Places like these need to stay open. Crackhouse is a place where many stand-up comedians learn their art,” he said in a Facebook post.

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh said she hoped the club would be allowed to reopen once the investigation was completed.

She said the club was merely a platform for would-be comedians during an open mic session.

It should not be penalised for the irresponsible acts of an individual, she said.

“Crackhouse Comedy Club is only a platform. The content creator was offensive and has rightfully been arrested,” she said on Twitter.

The club owners could not be reached for comment.

Located in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, the club operations were suspended by DBKL after a video clip went viral showing an impromptu act that many found offensive to Islam.

The TikTok video showed the performer removing her headscarf and baju kurung, revealing a mini skirt and spaghetti-strap blouse.

She also yelled out a greeting with an expletive to the audience.

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