Interview: Comedian and 'Pee Mak Prakanong' Star Pongsathorn 'Puak' Jongwilas
Fresh from his appearance in GTH’s surprise Thai box office hit Pee Mak Prakanong, BK speaks to man of the moment Pongsathorn “Puak” Jongwilas, 30, about the perks of being a comedian and why he prefers screen villains to heroes.
Puak (taro) isn’t my real nickname, but I love it. My teacher just called me that for fun when I was in the sixth grade. I could go by my real nickname, which is Boy, but Puak is a part of my comic personality.
Watching funny ads is better than watching lakorn (Thai soap opera). I dreamed of becoming a creative thanks to all the funny commercials that were so popular in my childhood. It’s so inventive.
I love to act funny. It’s probably down to the fact that I just love to make people happy. Luckily, I always get jobs playing weird characters in commercials, too.
We all need free time. Though I loved being a creative, it’s demanding and I realized that I wouldn’t be able to create anything for myself. I quit and started working as a DJ at GMM. I’ve still had time for acting, too, as I’ve appeared in See Prang, ATM and, the latest one, Pee Mak Prakanong.
I was shocked when Pee Mak Prakanong became the all-time highest grossing flick at the Thai box office, making more than B100 million in its first three days, and even more so when it exceeded B500 million in three weeks.
I’m a bit bipolar. Though I love to act funny for people, I’m much more reflective
when I’m alone. I’m a little paranoid about whether I’ve done a good enough job. It can be hard to express your real personality when people expect you to be funny all the time.
I’m a homebody nowadays. People are always shocked to learn that I don’t drink. I also don’t smoke or go to parties anymore. I don’t see being jammed into a crowded bar as being fun. Now I just love to go to work and come back home.
People judge things based on what they see or what they’re told. We all do. But it’s simply ridiculous to see the media cover a story simply by saying that I have a pretty girlfriend. It’s hard when people have no chance to really know you personally.
People are friendlier to a comedian than a handsome guy. It’s a real perk of being a funny man.
Ladies love humor. I think women love men who make them feel happy and comfortable to be with, rather than some handsome guy who’s boring.
I’m addicted to criticism. I love to read all the comments online about my performances. It helps me improve myself.
Only do things you have a passion for. You don’t need to do stuff just because it makes you money. Remember that you’re trading your time for things you don’t like doing.
I love collecting old toys. It’s quite cool to play with old contraptions. Maybe it’s because my parents didn’t buy me many toys when I was young.
Everything is accelerated by social media. With everything so close at hand, anyone can type something and press enter without properly thinking. Seeing the world can have both a good and bad impact on children. We don’t want them to become socially immune—they must know the difference between right and wrong.
I love villains. In every movie and cartoon that I’ve watched, the villain is always my favorite. I love the Joker from Batman the most.
Everyone has good and bad sides. Even though the Joker is a freak, he presents this idea that ordinary people in society have good and bad sides, too. But you have the power to choose which one you mostly go with.
Love can have an expiry date. When I broke up with my girlfriend of eight years, it was a big drama for me. I cried non-stop and got drunk for weeks.
There’s no shame in being sad. If you feel down, there’s no point storing it up inside. When you fall down again, you fall hard. I just let myself cry until I was able to move on.
Don’t use your experiences to judge others. People have their own ways of learning about life, each with their own complications and personal stumbling blocks.
Treat your bad experiences like a level in a video game. Once you’ve passed something, you’ll know how to handle it next time it comes up.
I love Japan. I love that everything is so detail-oriented, from the shops to the roads and the fonts used on their signs. It’s really cute. The most brilliant thing is their sense of public responsibility. People know their duties and that makes their country so beautiful.
Many people insist on comparing Thailand to Japan, especially in terms of development and habits. But we must remember that, as nations and peoples, we have such different backgrounds that we can never be the same. Every country has its pros and cons.
Money is not the barometer by which to measure happiness. Don’t concentrate on only making money. Spend your life as a human being, too.
At this year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), Thai indie film director Jakrawal Nilthamrong, 38, scooped one of the festival’s three top prizes, the Tiger Award, for his first feature-length movie, Vanishing Point. Here, the Thammasat University film lecturer discusses the car crash that killed his parents and inspired the movie, and what he's working on next.