Behind The Noose, a balance between comedy and tact is struck

by Darcel Al Anthony, Republic Polytechnic

Chua En Lai (middle) and Prem Anand (right) discuss how each script has to be scrutinised carefully before they are produced. (Photo: Darcel Al Anthony)

The phrase ‘lights, camera, action’ may seem all that is for a television show. However, for The Noose, it also takes a thorough understanding of sensitive comedy writing to produce a half an hour episode per week.

This was according to key figures behind the show, which won two Asian Television Awards for Best Comedy Programme. Speaking at the All In! Young Writers Festival on March 18, the show’s head writer Prem Anand said he would often find himself cooped up for several hours just to come up with materials that are deemed appropriate, so as to not ruffle the feathers of viewers the wrong way.

The Noose is known for its well-balanced satire and comedy themes. The show’s episodes focus on the relevant social issues that are happening today, but with a humorous effect, so as to engage and keep their audience updated.

“(Our intended purpose) is just to make fun. More often than not, it’s to see a particular issue from a completely different point of view. So whatever angle we take, it may not directly be issues addressed in articles but maybe we could put a certain slant to it; to say something that people are thinking but not saying,” said Anand.

With a goal to make their audience laugh till their bellies ache, Anand and fellow The Noose star, Chua En Lai, agree that they must manoeuvre their way around the process of producing the show with tact, balancing both satire and comedy well. Failure to do so would result in viewers feeling offended, accusing The Noose of slander.

The duo recalled one example. A viewer had emailed Anand accusing The Noose of mocking prominent criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan. However, prior to filming the episode in which the fictitious character Sudas Anandas first debut, Anand had already received the Mr Anandan’s approval to be parodied.

“We can’t expect the whole world to have the same point of view. Everyone would have a different point of view and different things to be sensitive about,” said Chua, who plays fan favourite Pornsak Sukhumvit on the show.

The International Emmy Awards 2011 nominee was inspired by Will Ferell’s The Anchorman. Given a week to shoot the pilot episode as a proposal, The Noose was well received within Mediacorp and ran for nine seasons filled with gallows humour and familiar household names such as Leticia Bongnino and Jojo Jojet.