KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s stand-up comedy king Harith Iskander, 50, has been judged as the world's funniest person in a contest held in Helsinki, Finland on Saturday (Dec 10).
Harith, who was announced the champion of Laugh Factory’s Funniest Person in the World 2016 competition, laughed his way ahead of four other contenders: Alex Calleja from the Philippines, Greece's Katerina Vrana, Mino Van Nassau from India and Israel's David Kilimnick.
Harith Iskander poses with the Malaysian flag with runner-up Alex Calleja (R), third-placed Katerina Vrana (2nd R) and Laugh Factory founder Jamie Masada. (Photo: Harith Iskander)
As the winner, Harith bagged US$100,000 and a comedy tour in the United States while runner-up Calleja took home US$10,000. Vrana in third place received US$5,000.
In a Facebook post, Harith, who is also referred to as the Godfather of Malaysian stand-up, said he was “so excited and thrilled” to win the competition after a “tough journey”.
"It was a tough journey, in the semi finals we had Murilo Couto (Brazil- with 2 million fans), Michael Mittermeier ( Germany), Jimeon (Ireland) - comedy giants in Europe and I'm thrilled to share the stage with them,” the comedy veteran wrote. “It's time to put comedy from Malaysia on the world map.”
The competition, organised by US-based comedy club chain Laugh Factory, consisted of three rounds. In the first round, 89 comedians from 56 countries battled to earn a spot in the top 20. The top 20 contestants proceeded to compete in the second round before the final five vied for the top spot in the third round.