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The Hossan Leong Show! (Episode 2)

October 2, 2010

Event: The Hossan Leong Show (Episode 2)
Venue: Drama Centre Theatre
Run: 23rd Sept – 9th Oct 2010

My theory about comedy is that when you put a few hundred people into a theatre and tell them that it’s going to be a hilarious comedy starring one of Singapore’s funniest comedians, then they will be in the mood to laugh right from the get-go.

That’s just the way it is.

It’s all about putting people in the mood.

As someone once put it: “Singapore audiences are very polite. They will laugh when they think they are supposed to.”

Example: At one point in the show, all they did was flash an ancient picture of Teamy the Productiviy Bee and people started chuckling…although the punchline hadn’t even come yet.

Anyhow, that’s not to say that the second episode of “The Hossan Leong Show” wasn’t any good.

I thought it was pretty entertaining, and was a marked improvement over the first installment.

I would hesitate to call it “brilliant”, but it definitely had its moments.

It’s good to know that the show is moving in the positive direction.

The reason why I finally decided to catch this show was because lately I have been very fascinated with comedy and what makes people laugh, hence I wanted to analyse how the laughs in the show were generated/induced.

First things first, the show is modelled after a skit-based TV comedy show, and I found the concept very entertaining (although there were moments when I was constantly reminded that I was paying $61 to sit at the rear end of the stalls to watch a live “TV show”, but hey, I have absolutely no regrets).

Hossan kicked things off with a could-perhaps-have-been-shorter monologue which was hilarious, and while it came with some clever lines, I thought a lot of the humour was reliant on his ability to mimic situations that he speaks of to neurotic effect.

He will poke fun at a specific topic, e.g. school canoeist having to bring home their oars, and he will then act out a funny scenario to illustrate his point.

He has this gift of comic delivery, and that is one of his greatest assets.

I had read a number of reviews prior to watching the show last night, and not a single review had failed to commend Judee Tan for her glorious turn in the “TCM” skit, which I obviously was anxiously looking forward to.

I thought it was definitely the highlight of the evening for me, and once again convincing me that Judee Tan might probably be one of the best female stage comedians in Singapore.

If her impersonations of Ris Low in “Chestnuts” hinted at her immense comic genius, the portrayal of “TCM” in this show only confirmed it.

As for the “Bibik Lily Lim” skit…well, I would have to agree with Life! reviewer Adeline Chia that it has definitely overstayed its welcome and should be done away with henceforth.

I didn’t think that there was anything in that segment that was particularly funny nor resonated with the audience, and while there were a few laughs generated here and there, it had to be attributed to nothing more than polite laughter.

The whole thing just seemed rather flat.

As for the “Justin Bieber” segment, while I thought it was a fantastic opportunity for the audience to witness Hossan’s little-known pianistic prowess, I remarked to my friend that the meaning of the entire song was largely lost on the audience comprising mostly of uncles and aunties in their 40’s and above.

In fact, the auntie next to me was heard asking her friend: “Who is this Justin Bieber ar??”

Lastly, it was apparent that the overarching theme of theme of the show was that of “Singaporeans vs Foreigners”, and I would have to say right off the bat that I was not too comfortable with the way the theme was dragged out at length, especially considering the fact that it was not just locals in attendance last night.

It would have been alright to make the occasional jibe, but flogging it to death throughout the show wasn’t very tasteful, in my opinion.

There seems to be some xenophobic sentiments being drummed up recently because of certain policies, and I think that if we’re not careful, we might be in danger of things boiling over.

But that is a discussion for another day.

As for now, I would like to conclude by saying that “The Hossan Leong Show” guarantees you a night of fun and laughter, but while it had its moments, it didn’t exactly score home runs either.

It was largely funny, but it would be hard to pick out any truly golden moments whereby you remembered laughing till your eyes teared or your tummy ached.

It didn’t manage to hit those levels of hilarity, in my opinion.

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