In the 16 years since Kuah Jenhan committed himself to comedy, he has been shortlisted for various prestigious awards such as Best Comedy Show at Perth Fringe World and Best Original Book and/or Lyrics for the musical Lat Kampung Boy at the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.
He has only ever won two things– Tug-of-War competition in Methodist Boys’ Secondary School Kuala Lumpur (G-O-L-D!) and the approval of his mother, which many will argue is all that matters in an Asian household.
And it all began because Jenhan was and continues to be a serial observer. Not like, in a creepy way. Just in a quiet, contemplative, introverted sort of way. He shies away from things that are out of his depth (politics, race, conflict) and leans into the things he understands; relationships (not really), emotions (nope), and thoughts that live in our heads rent free.
His approach to comedy tends to affect people in the most unexpected ways. You expect to laugh out loud. You don’t expect to lie awake at night unpacking the meaning of life.
It’s this effect that has affected his career. From being unsure about stand-up comedy to performing sold-out shows in distant lands like Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore, it has opened up doors for him to explore a host of many other roles such as writer, thespian, producer, director, and cat (this one is not true. Just a bonus if you’re still reading). He has written and performed six solo shows to date.
Other notable shows include staging a show with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, writing and directing ‘Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedians’, a 6-part comedy series, and flying across continents to beg for love (from an ex) which, let's be honest, is more tragedy than it is comedy.
Jenhan’s cause to provoke personal introspection leaves the audience deeply affected. And they’ll only know it after the belly-aching laughter dies down.