Jobs 101: Comedian
Ever wondered what it is like to be a comedian in Singapore?
Comedy has always been a vital part of the entertainment industry. Youth.SG had the opportunity to speak to 22 year old budding comedian, Sam See, and learn about his work as a comedian.
Who: Sam See, 22
Studied: Gaming Entertainment and Technology at Temasek Polytechnic
Tell us more about yourself.
I studied in St. Andrew’s school for ten years and pursued Gaming Entertainment and Technology at Temasek Polytechnic. I have been a comedian for four years. I perform Monday to Saturdays at various comedy places in Singapore. I also travel frequently around Asia for comedy shows.
How did you become a comedian?
I was actually dragged to an open-mike comedy show by a drag-queen (pun-intended). One week later, I jumped on stage to perform my first stand-up comedy show. I have never looked back since. One interesting fact is that I began my career on 1st April 2011.
Describe a typical day at work.
Work for me is categorised into two parts. I am usually free during the day so I will take the opportunity to work on my administrative matters. This would include securing comedy shows overseas or simply brainstorming for new jokes. Once the night hits, I get on the stage for about 10-30 minutes, and I am done for the day.
What difficulties do you face?
A key thing comedians like me are always looking out for is to prevent offending others. With the rise of the Internet and the speed at which news spreads, it is essential to steer clear of offending our audience so as to maintain a solid reputation. Another difficulty is getting our content to suit the knowledge range of our audience.
What motivates you in in this job?
The thing that motivates me is the will to be good at what I do. I realised that chasing money and fame will only leave a comedian in ruins. The faster you rise, the faster you fall, and so the key is to develop your skills to an extent that people begin to notice you. The money and fame will come later.
Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
This might sound queer but I like doing a slow waltz before every show. The slow rhythm of the waltz forces me to calm down my nerves. Also, a sip or two out of the pint is a usual thing for me.
Do you have any memorable experiences as a comedian?
I was in Hong Kong for the International Comedy Festival in 2014. This was at the height of the umbrella revolution. In fact, my hotel was just two kilometres away from the procession. On one hand, I was hoping to win the competition, and on the other, I was hoping to make it out of Hong Kong alive. It was truly an experience.
How long have you been doing this and how has the industry changed?
The industry has come a long way. Back when the comedy scene first started in Singapore, people would rarely speak about their job scopes as comedians, preferring to keep it on the low. Now, people are proud to be in the comedy industry. In fact, the highest rated Channel 5 show (Balik Kampong) at the moment is co-hosted by a local comedian, Fakkah Fuzz.
Do you have any advice for youth considering this career?
Be willing to suffer for your art. Comedy is one of the hardest art forms as you have to always be on your toes. Also, do not aim for fame. Rather, begin with a love for comedy and hold true to it.
Humour, humour and more humour
Excluding administration, about two hours a week
Dependent on skills, there is no fixed pay