BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
NOT all people have the guts to leave a stable job to chase their dreams. Not many can afford to.
Zainal Bostamam started Bruhaha just under two years ago. Armed with nothing more than his passion for comedy Zainal left his Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) job of six years and ventured out into Brunei’s almost non-existent comedy scene.
“I still remember when we did our first one two years ago; it was a free show and there were only 40 people, whom mostly were our friends and families. We didn’t even fill up the room,” Zainal said.
“From then on, the audience ust gets bigger and bigger. We had our first public show two years ago at the SEAMEO-Voctech building in Gadong with 120 spectators – and we thought this is the (maximum) number of people interested in comedy for Brunei, but we were wrong.
“From then on, the number of people coming to our show continued to grow. We had to find larger venues just to accommodate the people. We had to move out from the Collective Arts space, and now we are in the Progresif Headquarters,” he added.
Bruhaha may have to move yet again, said Zainal.
“We moved to this venue because we outgrew the last one, but now it seems like we also have outgrown this one – and we just moved in here,” he said.
“But I am really grateful to Progresif for their support – providing the venue is one thing, but they also go out their way to promote us and help in any ways they can,” he added.
Zainal said that Bruhaha has had offers from cafes for open mic comedy shows.
“But problem with that, every public shows have to be screened by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), but it is understandable as they also need to regulate what kind of materials are being disseminated to the people,” he said.
“And for us, we are also building our relationship with them. The process used to be very strict – but now they know we have certain standards, because for Bruhaha, we will not include politics and other restricted issues in our materials.
“Even though those are the topics every comedian go for worldwide, I believe there are other things we can look out for to be funny on stage,” Zainal said.
For open mics, Zainal noted that it will be difficult to know what people would say and do once they are in control of the microphones.
“But the same time, you need it. We haven’t reached to the level of hosting open mics yet, but hopefully in the next year or two – or maybe sooner, we will be able to,” Zainal said.