Young Norwegian-Thai Anders Yotsapon Helgesen is competing on Thailand’s first-ever comedy TV show seeking fresh talents to feed the ever-popular Comedy kingdom.
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Embracing the main stage for a seventh time, Anders Yotsapon Helgesen, 19, looked ready than ever to deliver gags. His timing was spot-on, his comedic character preciser – a farang comedian who speaks Thai with a Norwegian tongue – his voice soaring in songs and his dance moves ridiculously, in a self-satisfying way, funny.
During a skit, he sang a song “I Started A Joke.” But it was not the Bee Gees’ version we’re familiar with. Instead, he changed lyrics to it, crooning about how he would make a Johk, literally rice porridge in Thai. Funny? The audience blasted in tears of laughter.
“What you just did erased all the errors you’ve ever done on the show. All of it,” said Jaturong Mokjok, a comedy legend and currently one of the commentators for “The Comedian Thailand Show,” Thailand’s first comedic competition on TV.
Given to his disastrous incident on stage last week – he blurted out wrong lyrics in the middle of the song he’s performing; on his face, panic started to rise, the fun and sunny stage presence shredded to shock and disappointment – this, truly, was a relief comeback!
Not funny but fun
The young Norwegian-Thai who spent many of his youth years in the Honefoss town of Buskerud county, Anders never “dreamed of becoming a funny man,” said his 6 year older brother.
He said the ambitious brother who has been trying to break into Thai entertainment business for quite sometime – last year he competed on Channel 3’s men pageant The Gentleman – always had been more fond of singing over acting or, in this case, cracking jokes.
“He is not a funny person. He can be a bit shy if you don’t know him, just sitting in the corner playing games on his phone. But his personality is quite fun,” he said.
The Comedic Game
Anders rose to Thailand’s comedy scene when his mother told him of a new 24-hour reality program to groom new comedic talents. Bemused by the never-before-seen format, he went to audition and got a spot on the show.
20 contestants from all over the country were selected to train with top-notched comedians – in the likes of the Churn Yim family, literally for Welcoming Smile, a slapstick clan who produced some of Thailand’s best-known laughs.
Shown with day-long classes, and drama from contestants’ fatigues and desires to stay put with the show, the show broadcasts live performance on Sunday afternoons. The young comedians have to deliver gags, mostly in team, to win the audience votes.
Each week, one contestant who received least score is eliminated off the show. Anders has been on the bottom-three three times.
Being Farang helps
Many of his fans, including Disaporn Yatprom, a graphic designer who went to watch Anders perform at the live show last Sunday, inspected that the reason he was chosen to be on the show was his farang (foreigner) outlook. “I think the show wants to have various characters so that it’s fun to watch,” said Disraporn.
A character, so distinguished, that he is, has helped create his pick-up line: “Hello! Who are you calling?” Anders would say “Hello!” to other contestants as if he’s greeting them but then say the next line in Thai to himself as if he’s been on the phone. Many found that funny and spared a few laughs.
“I like that. I think it’s cute how he says it,” said Maitho Kasalokul, one of his fans who traveled from Chachoengsao province, 3 hours away from Bangkok, to see him perform.
To the comedian Suthep Seesai, his mentor on the show and a mastermind behind the “Hello!” line, there is a likable factor which people would find in a usually shy star. “He came on the show as very amateur in delivering jokes and being funny. Many times, it’s more difficult as he doesn’t understand the language.” Suthep said.
“But he is very determined and now learning a lot since we’re half way through the show.”
“The reason I want to see him live because I want to support him.” said Maitho. “He’s been working really hard and willing to learn. I wish him to win the show.”
Talking to ScandAsia’s camera in Norwegian, Anders’ brother Andreas encourages Scandinavians, especially the Norwegians to support his little brother: “I hope that people back in Norway can help Anders. We have high hopes for him and hope that you will also help him – he needs it.”
About the show:
Created by TrueVisions, the same house that brought in Thailand’s first 24-hour singing competition “Academy Fantasia” and last year a world-class phenomenon “The Voice” – “The Comedian Thailand Show” is broadcast on TrueVisions’ Hay Ha 66 and free-TV Channel 7, every Sunday, from 3.30 p.m. – 5.30 p.m.
To vote for Anders, text C18 to 4827555 (4 baht/SMS). For more information please visit his Facebook page, Anders The Comedian Thailand.
You can watch the previous episode of the Comedian Thailand Show here:
Name: Anders Yotsapon Helgesen / อันเดรส ยศพล เฮลเลเกเซน
Date of birth: 06/09/1993