Mentalist and comedian Sarin Suriyakoon speaks with BK Magazine.
As part of BK Magazine’s comedy issue, we spoke to five English-language Bangkok comedians on the return of the scene. Find more in a BK Magazine near you.
You never know which Sarin you’re speaking to. Is it Sarin the mind reader? Sarin the comedian? Or just Sarin? Like all mentalists Sarin is quick on the draw and careful with his words—attributes the medium and comedian brings to his stand-up.
So how did you originally get into comedy and mentalism?
I originally got into comedy through magic. I was initially performing as a mentalist in the comedy clubs, and I thought that comedy would improve my stage presence, so I tried and it worked so I kept doing it. [For mentalism] actually, it’s quite simple because I was studying for a Masters Degree and it was a very stressful time, and I stumbled upon a coin rolling YouTube video and after that I couldn’t stop practicing magic and mentalism. So I started from there.
Was learning comedy in a second language difficult for you?
It was really difficult. The reason I didn’t do it the first few years I was performing was that it was really difficult to find a topic that both foreigners and Thais can relate to. So I had to learn a culture from them in the first few years. When I performed as a mentalist I got to know comedians, I got to know how an audience thinks. Mentalism is a big risk.
What do you do when it goes wrong?
Well, it used to go wrong. The best I can do is to plan well. There is material I can do that is really risky. But, as you know, risk comes with a reward, right? I usually plan the risky routine in the middle. I put it in the middle to make sure I can recover after I fail.
Have you been doing a lot of shows during Covid?
No, I kind of burned out. I just keep writing in the journal and writing comedy or anything else at all—reading books and thinking about mentalism shows. My latest show was on December 10 at the Hive Thonglor, and it was material I had been thinking on through Covid. I’ve been practicing fun magic, close-up magic, at home with my neighbor. I have my favorite neighbor to practice magic with—that’s all I do, performing for neighbors.
And what’s next?
I’ve been thinking about doing YouTube material. It’s new to me but obviously I have to do it because I learned from Covid that I need to do that. Online presence is becoming more and more crucial. But I like live shows. I love to interact with the audience but sometimes it is so difficult with Covid.