Tupaz is the kind of guy that you feel you’ve known for years, even though you’ve just met. We’ve only known each other for 30 seconds, but he already refers to me as “bro”. Weirdly though, it doesn’t feel awkward or cringy. He’s just laid-back, jovial, self-deprecating and absolutely hilarious.
How long have you been doing comedy?
I have been doing stand-up comedy for about two years, but I have been entertaining people in the entertainment industry for six years now.
In your two years of doing comedy, what would say is the type of comedy that resonates among audiences in Singapore?
Actually Singapore audiences are quite interesting, because you never know what you are going to get. Depending on the room, the day, and even the weather, you know. It’s whether you get people that will understand deep comedy, dark comedy, or just like lazy comedy, or even like just personal stories. But personally, I feel that personal stories work best in Singapore.
Yeah. They like things that they can relate to, things that they get as well? Sometimes a punchline is really funny but it flies over our heads because we are just not used to the environment. Like for dark comedy, as a society we are just not ready for it, I think.
Are there differences between audiences in Singapore and overseas?
When I performed in Melbourne, it was amazing because everyone is open and receptive. They don’t judge a book by its cover. They give you a chance and only judge you after you finish your set. In Singapore, however, it’s the other way around. The moment they hear your name, you’re already being judged. Even if you are a well-known comic, people tend to have a preconceived notion and expectation of you before you take the stage. The attitude people have when they come to shows here is, “I’ve paid you to make me laugh”. If you don’t, then you fail.
How do you think comedy makes the world a better place?
I think a smile makes the world a better place, and laughter is the best medicine, so you can laugh at yourself, you can laugh at the situation around you, laugh at other people, makes light of the world, in a good sense. Makes everybody happy a bit lah I guess.
Do you think comedy can get people talking about tougher issues they usually won’t talk about?
Definitely. As a stand-up comedian, you’re not just there to make people laugh. You’re out there to make people think and to send across a certain message. After all, comedy reflects the society at that time. We talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly we see in our daily lives. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not trying to get you to agree or disagree with us. We’re just telling you what we see in the world today. Sure we all have a good laugh about it, but it also draws attention to things that need to be talked about.
Do you differentiate between high and low-brow comedy?
I think there’s a need for both. I feel Singaporeans tend to gravitate towards the slapstick comedy a lot more, but we’ve been moving towards high-brow stuff in the last few years.
Do you use both elements in your acts?
Yes, because my material is very classy, but my face is very slapstick.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Why’d you bring the high heel?
So Shaun Tupaz does personal stories, he has very low self-esteem and is an underdog; that’s his brand of humour. So his alter ego, calls herself Sprinkles, although her real name’s Cupcakes. She’s that empowered woman who’s very dirty, raunchy, and in your face, and she’s says things that nobody else should say or hear. So the heel is a representation of her, of my other alter ego. I would like to say I’m fine and fabulous at the same time. He’s fine, she’s fabulous, and that’s my kind of comedy lah.