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Being A Comedian Isn't Funny
Known for her stance on feminism, Sharul Channa is the only full-time female comedian in Singapore and she takes the jokes as seriously as her job.
Hayley Tai

The camera pans, and a statuesque woman looks up with expressive eyes.

“My name is Sharul Channa, and no, I’m not a Malay boy. I’m an Indian woman with a Malay boy’s name,” she introduces herself in her signature opener, holding the silence in an amiable manner before flashing a warm smile.

With that, Sharul breaks the ice in the studio. Her flamboyance has a distancing effect – yet she baits the audience with what she has to say next.

Tall and elegant, with sculpted features, Sharul appears too poised to be a stand-up comic on first impression. Yet it is the same funny girl who gamely – and boldly took on an invitation to perform her first comedy act in a bar eight years ago.

Her first (spontaneous) line was about her proximity to the front-row audience: “Wow, this is the first time a white man has been so close to my vagina.” The amused crowd chortled – a triumphant moment when the then-theatre actor realised comedy was her calling.

“Being able to script, produce and act out my own show makes me happy,” she tells Her World. And the only full-time female comedian in Singapore has good reasons to be.

Sharul worked hard to sharpen her material, find her voice and use the stage to hone her own comedic brand. Today, the 35-year-old slays in at least 70 shows annually, making between $500 and $1,000 for each.

She has flown the Singapore flag at the biggest comedy festivals in the region, like the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and India’s Weirdass Pajama Festival. She also recently completed a 10-city India tour, covering Mumbai, Goa, Ahmedabad, Delhi and Chennai. In between, Sharul gigs at comedy bars, hosts and conducts comedy-writing workshops.

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January 2020