As the country’s comedy festival LOL Fest draws to a close, we speak to the man who started it all, founder and CEO of LOL Events, Rizal Kamal.

WHAT DO PEOPLE OFTEN GET WRONG ABOUT COMEDIANS?

Many people think that comedians are funny all the time. They also think comedians are spontaneously funny on stage. It actually takes a lot of craft to make people laugh from the stage.

THE STAND-UP COMEDY INDUSTRY HAS GROWN SO MUCH — WE NOW HAVE COMEDY FESTIVALS AND SUCH. WHAT DOES THIS TELL YOU ABOUT MALAYSIAN AUDIENCES?

Malaysians are ahead of the curve as they are able to enjoy something like stand-up. You need to have some smarts, an understanding of the world and a certain amount of tolerance to take comedy as it is. If you don’t have that, you’d just blur out on the jokes or get offended.

WHICH COMEDIANS WOULD YOU LOVE TO SEE PERFORM HERE NEXT?

Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle were on stage together recently. That’s a comedy promoter’s wet dream. Getting Trevor Noah or Michael McIntyre down to Kuala Lumpur would be amazing, wouldn’t it?

IF YOU COULD TRADE LIVES WITH ANY ONE OF THE PERFORMERS AT THIS YEAR’S LOLFEST, WHO WOULD YOU PICK AND WHY?

I would pick Kumar, not because of her inclination but because she is a fighter and a winner. And she has a beautiful soul.

WE HEAR YOU ARE A REAL MUSIC FAN. IF YOU HAD ONE CHANCE TO SING WITH ANY SINGER ON STAGE, WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

For a local performer, I’d like to belt it out on stage with Awie and Wings — rock kapak-style. And if Gwen Stefani would like to sing with me, I’d shove Blake Shelton aside and do duets or croon with her for hours.

IF YOU HAD A BAND, WHAT WOULD YOU CALL IT AND WHAT WOULD THE NAME OF YOUR DEBUT ALBUM BE?

I had a band and it was called Redeye, a combination of names from the two frontmen. We didn’t get to an album but if we did, it would be a rock album called Velvet Bent, just because it sounds cool. Well, at least I thought it was cool 20 years ago. If it’s today, I’d form a boy band and call it No Direction. We’d have five not-so-good-looking middle-aged guys and instead of singing, we take turns telling Dad Jokes.

ARE THERE ANY SONGS THAT ALWAYS BRING A TEAR TO YOUR EYE?

Not a song but I laughed till I cried with the first comedy album I owned, Jerry Seinfeld’s I’m Telling You For the Last Time. But there was one time I cried when Pitbull desecrated my favourite song of all time, A-ha’s Take On Me.

WHAT MAKES YOUR WIFE LAUGH THE MOST?

When I dance in my birthday suit.

IN 2011, YOU WERE IN PRESTIGE’S TOP 40 UNDER 40 LIST. WHAT LIST WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE YOUR NAME ON WHEN YOU TURN 80?

I’ll create an alumni list of Top 80 over 80. There’s probably only going to be three people on the list.

WHICH FICTIONAL CHARACTER DO YOU WISH WAS REAL AND WHY?

I’d like to meet Deep Thought from Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and smack him for taking 7.2 million years to come up with the answer “42”.

WHAT IS THE WORST PICK-UP LINE YOU’VE EVER HEARD?

The only STD I have is sexually transmitted desire...for you.

NAME THREE THINGS PEOPLE WILL FIND SURPRISING ABOUT RIZAL KAMAL.

1. I’m nerdier than I look.

2. I’ve done a dozen photoshoots for magazines and such, and I cringed every time I see myself on them.

3. I don’t read my interviews either, so I probably won’t read this. Mic drop.

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