New kid on the block

27 Jun 2019 / 11:12 H.

HAVING spent the past few years establishing himself as a stand-up comedian, Harresh A.U, 27, is going to make 2019 the year that he makes it big in the local comedy scene.

Harresh (whose stage name of A.U is taken from the initials of his parents Asohan and Usha) is a regular at The Crackhouse and The Joke Factory.

Currently, he is working as a customer service person at a gym, a job which gives him flexibility to write and prepare his jokes.

Harresh says he wants to evolve as a comedian. Right now he does his stand-up in English and Bahasa Malaysia, but is trying to brush up on his Tamil.

He says he would like to venture into different mediums, including sketch-based comedy, and is also part of a group called The Line-Up, which is modelled after The Daily Show.

What was your very first job?

“Right after school I got a diploma in football studies. It was from some college in Pudu. I did it because I loved football.

“Since I could not play, I thought I could coach. I got my coaching licence and I [coached] for three years for free because no one wanted to hire me.”

Who were you coaching?

“I was working with my best friend who is an orphan. So I was coaching orphans. Then I was coaching kids around a housing area. I then got a [job] in a private school ... [but] those kids wouldn’t listen to me. So I would get a ball and let them play with it. Then I had a short stint at my old school La Salle Klang. I still was not getting paid.

“Then I grew tired.”

Of coaching and not getting paid?

“Yes, and also I grew tired of kids as well. It is not easy working with kids. So I just dropped it.”

What made you want to make comedy your life?

“When I joined the private school, I made the students and even the teachers laugh a lot by just being myself. I thought I should give it a try.

“I found The Crackhouse Comedy Club ( in 2014) and gave it a try. My first time was bad, really horrible. But something was pulling me back there. No matter how bad each night was, I kept going back. I wanted to get the laughs. There were nights I went home crying.

“But no matter how many times I failed, I wanted to go back up there again.”

What did you do wrong?

“I was new to this, I did not know what a joke was, and what comedy was. I went in blindly. I thought that everything I said was funny.

“There are many layers to it. It is not just about saying a joke, but [also] reading the crowd, and how you say the joke, body language and all that.”

How long was it before you knew what to do?

“After a year or so I found my voice. I did not have an aim. I just wanted to do comedy. So I thought I was doing it for fun, but I also wanted to be good at it.”

Did you have a role model?

“When I was a kid, I remember my dad watched Seinfeld a lot. I did not really pay attention towards the whole series, but I noticed at the end Seinfeld would do a stand-up routine. I used to wonder what he was doing, and he had so much power over the crowd. I wanted that kind of control. That feeling went away for a while, but now it is back.”

How much has your comedy evolved?

“When I started out, it was about the jokes. Now it is about how you personally feel about something. Everything that happens around me, what people say and how they say it. Right now I observe and report. Everyone is a character, I just zoom in and pick those tiny details.”

You are known for your deadpan style of delivery.

“That was how I was when I started out. It was like a shield, but it was hampering my creativity. Now, I am trying to be [myself.]”

Do you make jokes about family members?

“Yes, mostly about mum, my dad, my dogs. Mostly about my relationships with people around me.”

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