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Comedian defends controversial MH370 missing plane joke despite viral backlash

Comedian defends controversial MH370 missing plane joke despite viral backlash

The US-based comic carried on performing the joke 'every night'

A comedian has defended their controversial missing plane joke despite facing viral backlash.

About a year ago, Jocelyn Chia was doing the rounds online when her stand-up sketch about Malaysian planes caused outrage. The Singaporean, who lives in the US, was performing at a New York club when she referenced the missing Flight MH370.

On 8 March 2014, the flight was planned to make its journey from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China.

However, it completely disappeared from air traffic control radars, with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board.

To this day, it’s one of the biggest-ever aviation mysteries. And for many, Chia’s joke seemed to go too far.

The stand-up joked that Malaysians hadn’t visited Singapore for a while because their ‘airplanes cannot fly’.

The MH370 went missing a decade ago.

She then added: “What, Malaysian Airlines going missing not funny, huh?

“Some jokes don’t land.”

Chia’s joke faced backlash not only from global media and social media users, but even from authorities, with Malaysian police going to Interpol so they could investigate her under the country’s laws relating to insulting speech – which she found ‘ridiculous’.

Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s foreign minister added they were ‘appalled by her horrendous statements’ and said they are ‘sorry for the offence and hurt caused to all Malaysians’.

But Chia has since defended it, making comparisons to other comedians using the events of 9/11 for their work.

She told the Mirror: “I think a lot of the Malaysian and Singaporean critics were initially biased by the comments they read about the joke before watching it. The reason why the joke works incredibly well in a live show is because I have the element of surprise on my side."

Comedian Jocelyn Chia has stood by her remarks.
YouTube/Jocelyn Chia

Chia explained she’d been performing the same sketch for a year and a half before it went viral and carried on ‘because it was one of my best jokes’.

The comedian added that Malaysians trying to cancel her for it made her determined ‘to do it every single night’.

And going viral also meant a ‘boost’ to her career with her ‘big world tour’ expanding to more cities and countries – although she will not perform in Malaysia anymore.

Chia says she’s realised the general public doesn’t see comedy ‘as an art form’ in the same way as the likes of films.

"They accuse me of crossing the line and being heartless and insensitive; being a bad comedian or an amateur. The latter makes me laugh because it takes a certain level of skill to pull off a joke like the one I did," Chia said.

"As the saying goes, 'tragedy + time = comedy'. Jokes about tragedy are not uncommon in comedy."

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Jocelyn Chia/Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Topics: Viral, MH370, World News, US News