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Stand-Up Comedy Stage (Photo: Ignitehospitality.com)

I Refuse To Be Called A Stand-Up Comedian

Pangeran Siahaan

A couple of weeks ago I received a phone call from a TV station, asking me to perform my routine in its regular stand-up comedy show. It didn’t take long for me to say no. Having performed a few times on taped TV shows, I know exactly what would follow if I said yes. If you’ve ever been to We Are Not Alright or PP Stand Up gigs, you know the topics I cover in my routine and my style of delivery and it’s not for everybody.

My routine would be butchered and emasculated on air due to censorship to the extent that it would hardly look like a structured comedy piece, more like a terrible collage of verbal snippets presented to the audience as something that supposed to get them entertained.

Even though inviting a highly offensive perfomer to TV and asking him to strip all his usual material is similar to inviting Usain Bolt to race 100m and asking him not to sprint, I’m not complaining. (Although the bigger mystery is why inviting him at the first place?). After all there’s a broadcasting regulation to obey and it’s a reasonable thing.

What was unreasonable is assuming that I am a stand-up comedian. Oh, I hate it. Believe me, I hate being called a stand-up comedian. That’s injustice.

A few months ago I was asked to host a website launching ceremony. It was a great event and as a literature fan, I was treated with class performance of immense poetry readings. But what bothered me was all the performers had their names printed on the advert material with their credentials written just below. You know what they wrote under my name?


I was disgusted with myself.

I loathe everytime i’m called a stand-up comedian/comic/komika. I am not a stand-up comedian and will never aspire to be one. I hate being called what I am not, especially because I believe I have different understanding on this matter.

I never wish to entertain anybody. I write things that I like and I chuckle at everything that I pen. I craft my work for myself. If there’s anyone that’s supposed to get entertained by what I’m doing, the first and the foremost is myself. If you turned out to be a bystander and collaterally entertained by what I’m doing, great. But if you did’nt, I couldnt care less.

If being called a stand-up comedian means that I should make people laugh according to their standards, I rightly refuse to be called so.

That’s injustice.

Pangeran Siahaan is a satirist and a social critic. This article is originally published in his own blog: www.pangerant.com