Harith Iskander is synonymous to the word comedy in Malaysia. Dubbed as the “Godfather of Comedy”, he has been in the industry for more than 26 years. He not only has a talk show of his own now – by inviting many distinguish guests to his show but has been a mentor to many new comedians throughout the years he was in the industry.
Today, he is able to add another major point in his CV: being crowned Laugh Factory’s Funniest Person In The World 2016.
At Tourism Malaysia’s Tourism Information Centre (TIC) and KLIA Main Building, a Press Conference was held as well as to welcome Harith Iskander back home. The Press Conference was also attended by Director General of Tourism Malaysia, Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab and Deputy Director General of Tourism Malaysia, Datuk Sri Abdul Khani Daud.
Laugh Factory Funniest Person In The World
Laugh Factory is recognized as the “#1 Comedy Club in United States”. Opened in 1979, the founder, Jamie Masada who was a stand-up comedian himself is a pioneer, innovator and an iconic name of the comedy industry.
This year, Laugh Factory held the Funniest Person In The World competition, which is done in every two years. The last winner was from Finland which is why this year’s competition was held at Levi, Finland. Grand prize winner will be awarded US$100,000 and a trophy. Theme of the competition was “Bringing Peace Through Laughter.”
Trying out for the title Funniest Person In The World is not an easy task. Malaysia’s own Harith Iskander tried his luck and talent against 89 other comedians from 56 countries from around the world. They went through a first session round-up which then cut the numbers to 20 comedians and finally Harith Iskander found himself against Alex Calleja from the Philippines before winning the Grand Prize Winner title.
It was not all serious business in Finland. Luckily, Harith had some time to go ice-fishing and even though the moment he arrived in Finland in his thin jacket suit at a temperature of -12°C, he was hot enough for more than 300,000 online voters who voted for him in his last stand-up.
I just want to showcase what Malaysia really is through my comedy. I want to show everyone worldwide Malaysia’s culture and what they should know about Malaysia. I also want to unite people through laughter because if there’s 100 people in a room and if all 100 are laughing, then that shows unity. There will be no time for hate and war when everybody are laughing. – Harith Iskander
The first runner up, Alex Calleja from Philippines won US$10,000. Second runner up, Katerina Vrana from Greece won US$5,000. Mino Can Nassau of India and David Kilimnick of Israel rounded up the top five with each bagging US$1,000.
Panel of judges included Jamie Masada from LA, CEO and founder of Laugh Factory; Michael Addis from LA, a well-known producer of BET Network; and Michael Schmidt from Germany, CCO of Red Arrow Entertainment.
A total of over 70 million people from around the world viewed and voted for Laugh Factory’s Funniest Person In the World 2016 performances.
Following tradition, the next Laugh Factory Funniest Person In The World in 2018 will be held in the current winner’s home country. So Malaysia will be hosting the next competition and hope it will be bigger, better and most definitely funnier.
Tourism Malaysia and Harith Iskander
During the Press Conference at Tourism Malaysia’s Tourism Information Centre (TIC) in KLIA Main Building, Harith Iskander expressed his thanks to Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dato Seri Nazri Aziz for his help and sponsorship to fly his team to Finland.
In 2017, it is mandatory for Harith Iskander, as the Grand Prize Winner, to go to United States to perform. He will have to do this 10 times, and his winning money is divided into that 10 times as well. Thankfully though, Dato Seri Nazri Aziz has offered help on some matters.
Hopefully, with the help of Tourism Malaysia, the stand-up comedy scene in Malaysia will further expand locally and internationally.