Sam See & the Magners International Comedy Festival have been bosom-buddies since the inception. This year sees Sam See back in in Singapore…
Hello Sam, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I was born in Singapore, and still based here, mainly gigging in the South East Asia region. Never lived anywhere else, but let’s see where comedy takes me in the future!
When did you first develop a passion for comedy?
It’s a bit hard to pinpoint, because as a kid I consumed a very diverse collection of comedy. From the local Singaporean comedy of the drag queen comedian Kumar, to the music videos of Weird Al Yankovich and then to the British sitcoms like Allo Allo and Mind Your Language. I remember always trying to add comedy into my school presentations (without much success), as well as forcing the class to watch Clue again and again till the laughed at the right points. So I’d say I found comedy as a child, much to the chagrin of everyone else around me.
What is the creative process behind writing your comedic material?
Slow as hell. Great comics sit down everyday to write great works of humour. I am no great comic. I only start writing a bit if I’m moved by emotions or excitement, hence why the bits always have anger, confusion or a desperation behind them, in my opinion. I test them out at shows after, try to fix them, fail on the first three attempts, throw the bit away, run back to pick it up after I realize I need new material and then make it better overtime. Sometimes I can come back to the joke after a few days, sometimes a few months. I still have jokes that are still sitting around from years ago, I’m waiting till I’m experienced enough to approach them, because if you’re gonna touch the testier topics, you best damn well be prepared.
What are your improv skills like?
Depends on who you ask. I’ve been told I was fantastic to my face and then downright awful online, so I guess I’m pretty good at first glance. I started out with a fantastic improv troupe called the Laecomers, who specialized in short and long form simultaneously. I’ve sinced stepped away from the troupe to focus on my stand-up, but have learnt plenty from them, especially how to ‘sell’ alcohol without a liquor licence. PM me if you want the details.
What are the secrets to a good joke?
Writing and delivery, but the most important thing: having an audience to tell it to.
What does Sam See like to do when he’s not being funny?
I was studying video game programming before I got into comedy, so I’m a heavy gamer. Nothing multiplayer, mind you. Too anti social and not fond of 8 year old kids calling me names online. I prefer my hecklers to be there in person. I’ve also been trying to pick up cross-stitching, something more soothing to do after shows, but I keep passing it up for the more calming alternative: hard liquor.
You’re quite a name on the Asian comedy circuit, headlining cities like Melbourne, Malaysia, Tokyo, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Oman and the Philippines; but which is your favorite country to perform in & why?
Tricky, tricky question there, but if I had to pick, I’d say [INSERT YOUR COUNTRY HERE]. I really love [INSERT YOUR COUNTRY HERE], the people are so nice and welcoming, crowds laugh so hard and most of all, I love eating [INSERT YOUR LOCAL FOOD HERE]. I’d dare say it’s the best dish in the entire world, fight me about it.
Can you tell us about MAGNERS INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL?
I’ve worked with the Magners team for many years, since the first one back in 2014. They are a passionate bunch of people that want to bring both regional and international comedy to Asia, and I believe they will succeed at their goal, especially if they keep booking me every year.
You’re performing at this year’s festival; can you tell us where, when & who with?
I’ll be hosting the Singapore Gala Show, on the 21st of March at Pong, in Clarke Quay. Joining me will be some fantastic acts, like local funnyman Jinx Yeo, SG/US export Jocelyn Chia, Aussie boy Shayne Hunter, Irishman Kevin Gildea and rounding out the pack, the winner of the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, ‘So You think You’re Funny’, Danny Garnell. Tickets are still available at the festival website, which I’m sure you’ll find below.
What will you be doing for the rest of 2019?
I’m planning to head up to the legendary Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August, and then bring that hour back to SG and perform it in a theatre, so let’s see how all that goes. Also, I’ll probably be trying to pick up cross-stitching again. Stay tuned for knitting-based updates.