FUNNY PEOPLE: Paul Ogata
Tell us something funny about yourself.
Last year in Singapore I accidentally drank from a glass of urine. Twice.
How do you promote yourself as a comedian without looking too desperate or into yourself?
It’s a masterful blend of self-deprecation and faux third-party narrative. For example, “please come to my show, I’m funny and people like me” reeks of desperation. “Award-winning comedian Paul Ogata returns to Singapore for a night of riotous stand-up… Get your tickets early because you may have trouble seeing the diminutive comic from the back row” is gold.
Have you ever forgotten a part of one of your jokes while you were on stage and have to improvise? What did you do for damage control?
I forget stuff all the time, because I don’t usually do things in the same order, if at all, and also because of the vast amounts of mercury I consume in raw fish. If you forget, own up! Tell the audience you screwed up. If you can’t have them laughing with you, having them laugh at you is your next best option.
Which of your jokes do you find the most impressive? (The one that kills them every single time.)
Like a mother of six with two ugly children, I like some of my jokes a little less than the others. Like that mother, however, I love them all equally because they came from inside me. That being said, I really like this anal bleaching joke I’m currently doing.
Do you think that someone can learn to be funny, or are they just, like Lady Gaga says, born that way?
Some comedians will tell you that you can’t teach “funny”, that it is innate. They are just trying to dissuade would-be comedians and keep more work for themselves. The truth is that anyone can learn to be funny, but it takes years. Along the way you need to sacrifice financial stability and personal relationships, suffer through bouts of depression and self-doubt, and otherwise subject yourself to the worst heartaches life will throw at you. I, too, am trying to dissuade would-be comedians and keep more work for myself, but at least I’m honest.
You have performed in numerous countries: Which one has the oddest audiences?
Scotland, easily. A couple came to a bunch of my shows in Edinburgh. After each show, they would give me haggis. I thought it was very hospitable of them until I tasted some. Then I came to realise that they were just doing their part to rid their homeland of haggis.
Between a hot chick who smells bad and an ugly chick who smells good, who would you choose?
Simple: have a menage a trois. In doing so, you can configure it in such a way that you win. Somebody is walking out of that tool shed a really big loser and it is not me. On the other hand, if we’re dealing in a fantasy realm where either of those chicks would do me, why not kick it up a notch and choose “nymphomaniac supermodel who smells of freshly baked chocolate cookies and loves to play video games”?
Who would win in a fight between a squirrel and a beer-bottle opener?
In a fight, you can’t be afraid to get hit. Squirrels are always too busy hiding their nuts. Go with the bottle opener on this one.
Paul Ogata is performing on 16 May, Wed, 8pm. Chambers @ The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane. Tickets: $28 from www.bytes.sg or The Arts House Box Office, Tel: 6332-6919.