Part 3 of My Comedy Journey – My Return to Singapore & Setting Up Singapore’s First Ever International Comedy Festival

Upon my return to Singapore, I continued to do international shows which was a considerably risky move because, back then, there were two other international comedy promoters operating in Singapore, including one of the guys from the original One Night Stand club and one of the comedians, Jonathan Atherton who I brought to India.

I called myself The Comedy Pimp. 

That meant for the first time ever in Singapore there would be 3 international live monthly stand-up comedy shows in Singapore, something that had never happened before.

To say the other two promoters were pissed off would be an understatement*.  They thought there wasn’t enough room for 3 international comedy events every month.

I thought differently. After running shows for nearly a year in India (a far more difficult market) I knew I could pull in a crowd using some clever marketing.

* One of them – the chap from One Night Stand – even texted me on the night of my first show and threatened to break my legs. He is now been kicked out of Singapore and now lives in Bali, so I guess I had the last laugh. LOL.

Sure enough my first Comedy Pimp show in SG (featuring Ava Vidal, Tiffany Stevenson and Dan Antopolski) completely sold out and made me more money than I ever made in India (even though I was selling far more tickets in Bombay – the State Government there has a 40% Entertainment Tax on Gross Revenue so profits were negligible despite selling thousands of tickets)

Even though the shows I did, sold incredibly well, it made sense to eventually partner with Jonathan and merge The Comedy Pimp with his company, The Comedy Club Asia.

Together we carried on producing monthly international shows.

I also convinced my friend Matt Bennett, one of the (former) partners of the hugely successful annual BeerFest Asia that they should have a Live Comedy Tent at the event every year so that became a regular very popular feature of the annual BeerFest in Singapore.

As already mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I started Fight Comic [BLOG POST]

In 2014, I also created with Matt Bennett the Singapore’s First Ever Comedy Festival – Sponsored by Magners Cider.

Strangely, as rich and prosperous as Singapore is, it had never had a comedy festival.

As an avid fan of live comedy, I’ve been to the two biggest comedy festivals, Edinburgh Fringe and Melbourne many, many times.

I used to constantly nag Matt, “The Comedy Tent at the Beer Fest is doing so well, let’s set up a separate festival”.

To be completely honest, after years of nagging him, I’d forgotten about it.

One day, he revealed to me that he’d sold his shares in BeerFest Asia and wanted to use some of his money to set up a comedy festival.

I was fairly stunned, but said, “Okay, let’s give it a go”.

After 4 months of panicked work, we eventually launched Singapore’s first-ever comedy festival sponsored by Magners Cider.

It was a resounding success. The comedians loved it, the audience loved it and it was hailed as a great milestone in the comedy history of Singapore.

The next year Matt wanted to expand the Festival across SE Asia, whereas I wanted to concentrate on getting the Singapore festival right before taking it overseas.

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed being the driving force of setting up the 1st ever Comedy festival in Singapore, one year was enough for me. From my point of view, it was a lot of work with little reward. It takes on average 3 years to make a profit in a Festival and after crunching the numbers several times I could see that it was never going to be that profitable for all the time and effort expended in producing it and expanding overseas before we were ready was a mistake.

So we parted ways. He continues to run the festival today and I wish it the best of luck and hope it continues long into the future.




∙ Authored by Quilliam Potter
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