Even his biography page will crack you up, as it states: "Has been voted the grumpiest comedian in Malaysia today for his love/hate relationship with his life, love and country. Born with a severe disability (being Indian) he was always destined to be angry and easily irritated, putting that negative energy on the stage to positive effects. He complains about everything, so that you dont have to." Following his recent Netflix show launch early this year, Malaysia's top funnyman dishes to Malaysia Tatler about his career, his show and upcoming plans in the comedy circuit.

1. <strong>What have you been up to, and what are you currently involved in?</strong>

Well, I have been traveling the world doing comedy, Perth Fringe Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Harare (Zimbabwe) International Festival of Arts, and of course… My Netflix special, Kavin Jay: Everybody Calm Down!

Read also: Joanne Kam and four other Malaysian comedians on the works of stand-up comedy

2. <strong>Congratulations on your Netflix show, by the way! Mind telling us how it all came to fruition in the end?</strong>

Thank you. How it happened was that Netflix had already had 2 comedians confirmed for their specials (namely Harith Iskander and Fakkah Fuzz) and they were looking for a 3rd. I was opening for Harith on the taping of his special, and when Netflix saw me handle the crowd, they were impressed and offered me a special. It was very overwhelming, I was jumping up and down on the inside, but outside I played calm and said “Oh, let me check my schedule…”.  So, the others had 6 months to prepare, but I only had 1 month. Luckily, I had support and access to the open mics to really polish an hour before the shoot.

 

3. <strong>Have you always wanted to become a comedian? Or was it something that happened by chance? Tell us the story.</strong>

Well, when I was studying in the UK, I was taken to a comedy club by a friend and I was hooked. I kept going back because I enjoyed what they did. I didn’t think of doing it in the UK at first, just enjoyed going to comedy. But when I was back in Malaysia, I realised there was no comedy scene here. Yes, there were a few people doing it (namely Harith Iskander, Joanne Kam and Jit Murad) but the shows were few and far between.

I thought to myself, maybe I could start a scene in KL but I kept putting it off as I was busy with work and other things. My brother always said that I should do comedy as I had a knack for it but I never had the time. When he passed away (as a result of a heart attack) I realised that life was too short for procrastination, and in 2006 I contacted my cousin Andrew Netto, got 150 of our friends, put them in a pub and told them jokes. Andrew did really well, and I was horrible. I didn’t know what I was doing, I realised I didn’t know anything about stand-up comedy. I didn’t know how to write a joke, how to deliver a joke and appear confident on stage. I set out to learn about stand-up comedy, doing shows in other pubs, trying out different personalities and jokes.

When TimeOut KL started a monthly show called  Comedy Thursday and a few of the comedians, such as Kuah Jenhan, Phoon Chi Ho, Steve Northcott, Jason Leong, Rizal van Geyzel and I started becoming their backbone and we now had a place to call home. The scene improved drastically, and then Comedy Club KL started bringing international acts down and we, while opening for them, had learned so much from comedians we only watched on YouTube.

Read also: Music Producer Hiko Momoji On His Big Learning Curve & Finding Success With Grammy Nominee Khalid

4. <strong>On another note, what&rsquo;s your philosophy in life?</strong>

Wow, that’s a deep question. I guess it’s just live life. Life is way too short to not LIVE it. It is too short just to not do all the things you want to do. You would be surprised as to where the journey will take you, but if you never take that journey… you will never know.

5. <strong>Who do you look up to, personally and professionally?</strong>

There is so many I look up to. Comedically I have my heroes, like Rhod Gilbert, Simon King and Eddy Izzard (I got to meet 2 of them doing comedy).  Professionally, I have always admired Douglas Lim and Harith Iskander, as they really work this industry and are probably the most successful in making this industry into a business. I mean Harith is the reason we can all do this full time as he created an industry when there was NOTHING! Now, comedians are everywhere, even at weddings.

Read also: Puan Sri Tiara Jacquelina: Raising bars for Malaysian film and arts

6. <strong>What are your current personal and professional goals? What&rsquo;s next?</strong>

Funny you should ask that. 12 years ago, when I started comedy, the dream was to have an international stand-up comedy special on TV (at that time it was HBO or Comedy Central). Now I have one at the new home of comedy, Netflix, that was the end game… I have done it! Am I done?

I don’t know what to aim for next… I mean, I know the obvious stuff, world tour, shows in the US, etc (I am already working on those) but I think I want something more.

I want to get into writing and acting, something I always liked doing since I was in drama club in school. I am writing a sitcom (with a small part for myself) and hopefully it gets picked up.

7. <strong>If it hadn&rsquo;t been for comedy, what do you think you&rsquo;d be doing right now?</strong>

I qualified as an engineer and had a job, but I always felt very uncomfortable in a 9 to 5 job. Getting up in the morning was something I truly hated doing. I knew I had to do something else… I couldn’t sing, I couldn’t dance.

So I would be a boring, MPV driving corporate slave that complained about his job and is secretly sad about his life, but uses things like drugs and alcohol to fill the void in my life. A bit too specific?

8. <strong>Where do you get materials/inspirations from?</strong>

I tell stories about my life and my family, so that is a gold mine of material for me. A family function is a joke writing exercise for me. Conversations with fellow comedians and friends also reminds me of stories left dormant in my memories that prove to be great on stage. 

9. <strong>Quick! What&rsquo;s the first joke that comes to your mind right now?</strong>

How many Singaporean football fans does it take to change a lightbulb?

None, they like living in our shadow…

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.