‘Some jokes don’t land’: Comedian defends joke about missing Malaysia Airlines flight

“Some jokes don’t land.”

Jocelyn Chia, an American-Singaporean stand-up comedian is feeling the heat after joking about the 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

The Boston-born comedian was performing at Manhattan’s Comedy Cellar back in April when she asked an audience member where they were from. Upon hearing that the person was from Malaysia, Chia began commenting sarcastically about the historical separation of the two nations 40 years ago, suggesting that Singapore is now a “first world country” while Malaysia is “still a developing country.”

Speaking of the separation as if it was a romantic breakup, Chia joked about Malaysia trying to regain Singapore’s favor, with the latter questioning why no visits in 40 years.

“Yeah, I tried but, you know, my airplanes can’t fly,” she then quipped, before adding to those who may have groaned, “What? Malaysia Airlines going missing not funny?”

TikTok banned footage of the performance, calling it “hateful behavior” that was in violation of community guidelines and even Singapore weighed in.

“The Singapore government does not condone words or actions that cause harm or hurt to others and Chia,” Vanu Gopala Menon, Singapore’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, said in a statement. “[Chia] does not in any way reflect our views. I sincerely apologize to all Malaysians for her hurtful remarks.”

Chia told CNN that she stands by the joke and that there is no malice involved.

“I do stand by my joke but with some caveats — I stand by it in its entirety, when viewed in a comedy club. Upon reflection I do see that having this as a clip that gets viewed out of a comedy club context was risky,” she told CNN.

“I didn’t want the haters to think they had won and got me to back down. Audiences at the Comedy Cellar see the best comedians and they love it, so how can I be embarrassed by it?” Chia added.


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