Prakash Daniel took his love for movies and narratives a step further by starting his journey in comedy in his university years. Now, he makes us laugh our heart out with his farcical jokes and his (very strong) obsession with sneakers.
When did your journey as a creative begin (both personally and professionally)?
I would say it started when I was in university. Before I dabbled into comedy, I was a photographer (still am just as much as I used to) . My love for movies and how it told various narratives always made me wonder how I would look at storytelling myself if I was able to do it in my own style . I was doing a lot of photography work before I moved into doing standup comedy.
In 2012, I decided to leave my creative writing job and ventured into the freelancing world. I was still doing half and half. Photography in the day & comedy at nights, but as the comedy scene started blooming more in Malaysia, I went full force with pursuing stand up comedy.
What is your life ethos and how does it relate to your creative journey?
My life ethos at this point in my life is “Don’t be an asshole” in every way possible. The scene is small and having a good work ethic is very essential in any art form. The reason why I say this is because I have been “an asshole before” and it is not a very good feeling. Being true to oneself is so important to anyone’s creative journey. I, personally have learned to just let go/cut off people that do not bring any substance to the art form.
It has helped me so much in my creative journey cuz, when I started to view people around me with respect, I realized that my creative journey became a bit easier than I started. I remember my university lecturer told me, “Prakash, no matter how famous you get, always remember where and how you started.”
That quote struck me so hard when I was down in the dumps. This so-called simple ethos made me rediscover myself as an individual and a stand-up comedian.
What are some of the things your artworks are constantly seeking to explore?
To be honest as a stand-up comedian the main role is to make people laugh. That is the ultimate goal and the only goal. Along the way, as a comedian, I currently want to explore the idea of inequality, racism, and just the idea of why is it so hard being recognized as a Malaysian at times.
What type of artist do you wish to be, and what's your ultimate goal as a creative?
I want to be a comedian who is relatable. Being relatable and staying true to myself is something I am striving for. My ultimate goal as a creative is to be able to create new shows that go beyond the usual stand-up comedy format. I want to be able present my ideas and thoughts on being a Malaysian to an international platform with the use of mix media.
My life ethos at this point in my life is “Don’t be an asshole” in every way possible. The scene is small and having a good work ethic is very essential in any art form.
What was the most significant/impactful project for you thus far — why?
As mentioned earlier, the most impactful project for me was writing, producing, promoting, and performing my 1-hour solo show in 2019 titled “Beautiful”. Every comedian’s dream is to write a 1-hour solo show but for me not only it was a show but I did everything from the ground up with help of some close friends.
The best part of it was seeing a theatre filled up to watch me fill up to listen to my story. The pure joy of hearing laughter cuz what I have to say was the ultimate joy.
The second one would be being invited to be part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2018.
How do you see the world?
“It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.
This quote has been a constant reminder of the way I view the world. Growing up in a middle-class Indian family was never easy, I had to make sure everyone’s expectations were meant.
Family always came first to me but then I realized I am placed on this planet for a reason. Every individual has dreams and ideas that they want to accomplish. I clearly remember the day I quit my job, my parents were weary that I would not be making enough money but I told them, “I need to do this for me”.
Since then, I view the world as an open book, as long as I keep pushing myself to realize my dreams, the universe will provide in its own way.
What is your favourite and least favourite part of the creative process?
1. Write Joke
2. Go to Open Mic
3. Perform Joke
4. Joke does well
6. Open Mic again
7. Joke KILLS
1. Write Joke
2. Go to Open Mic
3. Perform Joke
4. Joke Dies a thousand deaths
6. Open Mic again
7 Joke Dies a thousand deaths AGAIN
8. Contemplate on why I do stand up comedy
What’s your guilty pleasure(s)?
My guilty pleasure are :
3. Chicken Rice
4. Nasi Kandar
How would you describe your comedic style? Do you feel much has changed?
My style has changed over the years. When I first started doing stand-up comedy, it was the jokes. Every male comic would start doing penis jokes , and slowly move on to race-based materials as it is the go-to style of jokes to make in Malaysia. I still do race based jokes but now it has evolved to what I want to present about the Indian community in our country.
Also, I have learned that visuals play a huge role in story-telling, hence my solo 1-hour show in 2019, titled “Beautiful” was a mixed media show. I had elements of music and photography with comedy all infused in one show. That was an emotional show for me as it spoke about my relationship with myself and a lover. After that show, I realized, “Hey I can talk about my feelings and not just my penis on stage”.
I think it was so cathartic that it triggered a new voice in me to review my creative/artistic style of doing comedy.
Who is someone you would love to collaborate with and why?
The first person I would love to collaborate with would be Jo Kukathas. She is a powerhouse. The way she performs is just out of this world. She has done loads of serious roles but her other personas on stage which are comedic are just mindblowing for me. The way she brings the characters to life is phenomenal.
The other person I would love to work with would be Zee Avi. I have always loved her originality in bringing her songs to life. I can already imagine a show where it's a mix between music and comedy. She has beautiful energy and her work resonates so well with who she is as a person.
Please share with us who/what you are constantly inspired by!
I am constantly inspired by the local comedy scene. The scene is steadily growing and I have seen many newbies now have done headliner shows. When I see these comics and hear them do their jokes, my brain goes “Damn, why didn’t I think of that?” Or “These fellas are getting so good, I need to up my game!”.
My favorite local comedians that I am inspired by are Keren Bala Devan, Riezman Razlan, Nat Kang, Mikhail Svcurla, Mike Saddi, Raqib & Rizal Van Geyzel.
Internationally, I am also very much inspired by Asian comedians who are currently smashing it. The ones I am super inspired by are Ali Wong, Ronny Chieng, Hasan Minhaj & Dilruk Jaysinha.
Lastly, please shoutout 3 of your favourite local creative crushes and their IG handle!
- Riezman Radzlan, @rieznuts
- Keren Bala Devan, @kerenbdt
- Zee Avi, @zee.avi