These comediennes are taking over comedy. Who says women aren't funny?

08 Mar 2023 04:20pm
Queens of Asia.
Queens of Asia.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, LOL Asia and Kam Productions bring together four iconic female comedians in a stand-up comedy showcase to empower women in comedy.

Coming from all over the globe to the beautiful theatre of The Platform at Menara Ken TTDI, these brilliant, talented women will be performing for two nights, putting the "power" in "empowerment".

The evening will feature a lineup of South East Asia’s comic super-stars with Singapore's number one female comedian, Sharul Channa, Youtube sensation with over 33 million views, Yumi Nagashima from Japan, a comic with both North and South Korea heritage, Simmone Park, and local legendary Queen of Comedy, Joanne Kam from Malaysia.

Speaking to Sinar Daily, LOL Asia founder Rizal Kamal shared his excitement of what is to come at the Queens of Asia.

Rizal Kamal.
Rizal Kamal.

"This is a very special show that we create which highlights the best female comedians in the region," he said while pointing out that this is his venture with Kam Productions to produce a women's specific show.

Having two daughters himself, he said that this is his contribution to make the world more ideal for women.

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Rizal said that traditionally, it is the role of men to make women laugh and humour has always been an advantage for men to charm women, but that is not always the case.

"I do find a lot of women funny, I have met many of them so they should be given an equal chance to be on stage and to show people that women can be as funny, if not even funnier than men," Rizal said.

Rizal described comedy as the ability to relate to the audience as the audience would be able to understand context from within themselves.

He said the art of comedy is all about how to deliver the punchlines and ways to overcome a mental barrier rather than capabilities or skills.

He also said that this particular show is special where it showcases women being funny in front of many other women.

He highlighted that as a producer, it is his duty create more shows that enable women to be on stage.

"It is a matter of giving equal opportunity. If there are more women who want to get on stage, they should be given equal stage time and chance to do so," he stated.

Commenting on the comedy industry in Malaysia, he said that the women empowerment is not enough and the nation could always do better.

Nevertheless, he said progress can be seen as time passes on compared to 14 years ago where toxic masculinity was a norm in the industry.

"I remember when Joanne first came in, there's a lot of criticism from other comedians and peers simply because her style and what she brings on stage was different from theirs," Rizal said.

"However nowadays, the mentality of men is changing where we no longer put women down, degrade or think less of them in entertainment and that allows more women to be successful in this area," he said.

In relation to that, he strongly believes that Queens of Asia can break the stereotype of women being unfunny as the show showcases rhe best women from different countries and background.


Sinar Daily had the chance to speak to these top-notch comedians and they were definitely not shy to share their own experiences being in the comedy industry.

Queens of Asia this year will see the debut of Canada-based Korean comedian, Simonne Park who described her decision coming to Asia as the "most wonderful experience".

Simmone Park.
Simmone Park.

"I started (doing comedy) five years ago and for some reasons I wanted to go overseas, to do comedy in languages I do not speak," she said.

"I have a different way of approaching comedy and coming to Asia has been the most wonderful experience to get me out of my comfort zone, for me to grow as an artist and I'm extremely thankful for the opportunity to be here," she added.

Sharul, who has been in the industry for more than a decade said it was encouraging to see how the comedy scene in Asia has evolved.

"I'm still the only full time stand up comedian in my country and there are some really funny women coming up right now which is really encouraging," Sharul said.

"I'm glad now that I can give some advice to younger women comedians, and men as well. There is so much more to do in the Asia scene in terms of stand up comedy for women," she stated.


Sharul told Sinar Daily on how comedy turns into taking her time to educate the entire society on women getting on stage and doing stand up comedy, has no difference with men doing it.

Sharul Channa.
Sharul Channa.

“Singapore is such an orthodox society so when women get up on stage and started swearing and making risky jokes, people will ask them to behave,” she said.

“So, for me it was a challenge to educate the Singaporean population on the comedy scene involving women,” she added.

Meanwhile, Joanne noted that the comedy scene has always been populated by men.

Hence, in order for women to strive in this field, she advises anyone who are interested in getting into comedy to always stand the ground and do it wholeheartedly.

“Right now there’s so many women wanting to get involved in comedy and that’s a refreshing sight,” Joanne said.

Joanne said 20 years ago, there were hardly any female comedians because being on stage, they are exposed to criticism and being subject to prejudice.

“Just think about 25 years ago, I am a woman, an Asian one at that. I made a lot of jokes about sex, sexual innuendos, things that women are scared to talk about in public,” she explained.

She highlighted that now many women wants to take up comedy and they must always be provided the stage to learn and flourish.

Sharul also lauded Joanne for giving the platform not only for women but for trans people as well, by giving them job opportunities and encouraging them to be on stage.


Being a comedian woman who makes risky jokes has opened doors for people to put prejudice against them.

Joanne said this is only because people listen to her jokes out of context, mostly from Youtube and Facebook which invites unfair comments with no way to stop those.

Joanne Kam.
Joanne Kam.

"However, I am being judged for my live performances so as long as I'm still able to perform, I dont have to pay attention to the noise," she said.

"At the moment right now, I've taken that to empower myself to be the person that I have been finding," she added.

Simmone elaborated on how women in various industries have to work harder just to get to the same baseline as men - which is something that the society is used to - and women are doing an incredible job at it.

She told a story where she had to dress down during her earlier years in performing due to people labelling her as 'whore' or 'slut' when she made sexual jokes, when in fact those jokes were derived from trauma that she experienced.

"I was headlining in a comedy club in San Francisco and during the first night, I was wearing my classic jeans with a black t-shirt and everybody loved it," she told Sinar Daily.

"The next night I decided to dress a bit more like a woman, with heels and a little bit of lipstick and the jokes were taken in a different way," she said.

"It's a psychology that I found very interesting about doing comedy as a female. Women have constantly been judged throughout all of history so why would comedy be any different but knowing that, I guess we can play that to our advantage because women are very clever," she pointed out.


Joanne said this year with Yumi and Sharul coming back, and Simmone with her glorious debut, fans can expect the show to be extravagant.

Yumi Nagashima.
Yumi Nagashima.

"All our jokes and choreography will be new, with a surprise opening. Two years of not having any platform for performers, we are definitely coming back a little bit wiser and stronger," she said.

"It's nice to see all women unify in this system full of comedy yet we are so different and that's the beauty of it. Which other show has put four women headlining on one stage?" she stated.

Simmone expressed her excitement to be a part of the show and she found women helping other women in comedy, a really beautiful thing.

"I was born and raised in the US but ethnically I am super asian so I'm hoping that the audience will find what bring to the table, interesting," she said.

"I think all of these women combined is gonna be just an absolute powerhouse, fireball of deliciousness and I'm super excited for this," she added.

"Happy International Women's Day! I belive women are in the capacity to help each other, to lift each other up instead of putting each other down," Joanne said.

"Happy International Women's Day to everyone! Historically women have been pitted against one another but I hope that we can recognise that we're actually better off when we help one another because when we lift each other up, we set a new benchmark and starting place for us all. I hope that we will all feel safe, because that's something I was not being able to enjoy all my life so I want women to feel safe, to be themselves and let loose because that is good for us!" Simmone said.

"This is Queens of Asia so I really hope that all women can step up and take their rightful place on the throne, recognise that everybody is a queen and we can just wear our crowns proudly," she added.

"A very Happy International Women's Day! I would like to hope for younger girls to grow up finding role models in their mothers and sisters, and I would like for all of these ladies to regain their confidence and be proud of their cultural history and inheritance," Sharul said.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of a female-empowered comedy extravaganza guaranteed to offer a night of side-splitting laughs!

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