Harith Iskander’s “I Told You So” is the kind of comedy special which makes you hope Netflix snatches Iskander up and offers him more than additional special, but perhaps a show.
|Screenplay By||Harith Iskander|
|Genre(s)||Comedy, Comedy Special|
For those, like me, who are unfamiliar with Harith, he is a Malaysian man who won Laugh Factor’s Funniest Person in the World competition. Someone whose wife has a Ph.D. in stem cell therapy research, and also is quite a storyteller. In fact, this comedy special is borderline a one-man show which focuses on one story really: Harith’s first heartbreak. A story which includes giving you an idea of how Malaysia is, his upbringing, and really giving you a full sense of the person before we get into his first real relationship and all that happened during it.
Thus making it where you feel like you not only are getting to know Harith, who is taking advantage of having an internationally released special, but also getting an idea of the country he loves so much. Alongside his feelings on Singapore – which he kindly pokes at. And as he guides us through his life and philosophies, he has his musical band director, Mike Veerapen, assist him in making things funny by either music, naturally, or Harith and his banter.
Giving us the type of comedy special, from an international act, that you hope Netflix produces more of.
Harith Is A Great Storyteller
Let me start off by saying, Harith sort of has this comical uncle appeal. He isn’t going to leave you gasping for air, but he sort of has a comedy style I’d compare to Ellen Degeneres. It’s very clean, doesn’t have much in the way of innuendo. But, what is the real selling point is his way of storytelling. Him talking about his relationship with his mother and father, and using that as a foundation in regards to his own personal relationships, almost made this feel like a one-man show.
Think of what John Leguizamo presents, but with Harith not being as extra with fancy sets and things of that nature. That is what he presents. This idea that, I’m here to tell you a story that you can relate to, and may make you laugh, but I’m not here to be a clown. That perhaps is the best way to explain how he handles comedy and how he tells various stories which he finds an interesting way to tie together.
Mike and Harith’s Banter, Featuring Sathia
Back in Malaysia, Harith is a talk show host and like many talk show hosts, there is a certain reliance on the band director. Someone to play on who enhances the program. Which, Mike does in such a way where you sometimes feel like he deserves a featuring credit. For really, between Mike and this person in the front row, Sathia, Harith goes to them to sort of create chapters in his story and keep his audience on their toes without saying something jarring.
A Sense of Culture
Harith is a man who speaks multiple languages, seems aware of multiple cultures, but mostly speaks of what his life in Malaysia as well as comments on his perceptions of Singapore. Now, being someone who doesn’t know much about the country, though at least familiar where it is on the world map, it was interesting to listen to him talk about how he learned about his comedy inspiration, Eddie Murphy. Listening to how much holidays mean in his country, how they are this mix of Indo-Chinese culture and make it work, alongside seeing this very diverse audience, it really was something. I would even argue meaningful, for it wasn’t like the camera only showed pale or fair skinned people. Within the HGH Convention Center, we saw and were introduced to people like Toby, a dark-skinned man from Singapore. Something that may not mean much to some, but considering how most exports from Asian don’t really feature dark-skinned people, even if Toby was just part of a joke on Singaporeans, representation matters when you can get it.
Overall: Positive (Watch This)
I really hope as Netflix invest more in bolstering its international audience, one of the people it invests in is Harith Iskander. From his look to his style of comedy, between partnering up to bring Obviously Harith Iskander international or giving him the opportunity to maybe film movies or even a scripted show, I just hope they start some kind of synergy machine when it comes to him. For he definitely is one of their best non-US comics featured thus far.
Harith Iskander: I Told You So | Netflix Official Site
Malaysian stand-up comedy icon Harith Iskander takes the stage in Kuala Lumpur to talk about Singapore, a past girlfriend, Rick Astley and more.