Laugh riot

The Sundaily |
Photo of YouTube comedian Harvinth Skin for Next Gen at Bangsar Shopping Centre, Bangsar. — Sunpix by Adib Rawi Yahya
Photo of YouTube comedian Harvinth Skin for Next Gen at Bangsar Shopping Centre, Bangsar. — Sunpix by Adib Rawi Yahya

INTERCUTTING between footage of himself behind a gate and the infamous video of a mango thief threatening a woman, Harvinth Skin's video on Facebook quickly amassed 1.3 million views and over 18,000 shares in just under a week.

Originating from Kajang, the International Business and Marketing graduate has one true goal in his mind; making others laugh.

"I didn't choose business, I was meant to take medicine, but I'm not about that life. I would say I'm still a doctor, as laughter is the medicine in the world," Harvinth says.

"My parents were not very happy with the decision, because business is not medicine," he adds.

Known as Harvinth Santira Kesu in the real world, the 24-year-old internet comedian is rapidly shooting through the local comedy scene with his off-kilter, often risque content, which all began with the use of a derogatory word in Tamil.

Stripping away the negative connotation attached to the word and turning it into a snappy meme, Harvinth would then create a caricature persona, complete with the inflections and accent stereotypically associated with Indians, to take over Malaysia's online comedy scene through satirical social and political commentary.

How did your parents and family respond when you decided to make reaction or comedy videos?

At first, they didn't know I was doing this until they started getting tech-savvy and started going online themselves. Then they realised I made videos.

My dad stalks all of my tweets, which is amazing. He knows more about my life than any of my fans. My mum is very supportive, she shares my videos on Facebook. But they always try to keep me in check with the language.

Why didn't you go into stand-up comedy instead?

I have tried stand-up comedy before, and it's very difficult. It's a whole other ball game. I grew up watching a lot of videos online, and a lot of actors in movies being funny.

A lot of Tamil movies are where comedians steal the limelight. In terms of that, I like developing and making a story come to life through a video, and making people laugh through a video rather than a stand-up comic.

Did you expect "punde" would catch on to become a meme?

I feel the word has always been a meme. Although there may be a lot of taboo surrounding the word in the Indian media and community, it had to take someone to bring it out of the people to make it something.

It happened on its own. I just helped push it a bit and to be honest, I never expected it to blow up.

What was it like when you met Prime Minister Najib Razak recently?

(laughs) No comment. Please watch my vlog on it; that would answer what I felt about it.

Are you going to maintain your level of comedy where it is currently at, or will it get crazier?

I'm not going for raunchy, or whatever. That is not something that I'm aiming for. My aim isn't to be the most controversial or crazy. It's solely to entertain and to be the most entertaining person out there.

If you're asking me whether my content will become more entertaining, then I would say yes. But if it's going to get more crazy? I can't guarantee that. It may be, it might not be. I definitely hope it'll become more entertaining.

Do you think your fans expect that of you?

I think I expect that of myself; to push my own boundaries. I want to test things that haven't been done before in Malaysia. I feel the country is very backward, in terms of its sense of humour and acceptance of content.

Malaysia is very, very backward; even Singapore is miles ahead of us in terms of content. I hope to bring edginess and out-of-the-box thinking with my content.

Do you plan on doing this for a long time?

Right now, life is going great. It's looking very promising, and if it continues going at this pace, then, definitely it is something that I will venture into, and hopefully more bigger things. I want to make things; whatever I am right now, I want to make it a thousand times bigger. You can never predict the future, so I can't say for now.

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