Several of the most prominent comic actors in Thai cinema also appear on the hugely popular gameshow Ching Roi Ching Laan (ชิงร้อยชิงล้าน), which airs several days a week after the evening lakorn bonanza. Those that aren’t contracted to Ching Roi Ching Laan, can often be found on one of the talkshows on the other sides.
Most of these performers are from the northeast and north, and cut their teeth working on the variety acts that attract huge audiences at Isaan town festivals. Music is a key part of such shows, and many of these actors are also musicians.
The main comedic theme is farce, and all of the following are experts, in one way or another, of making themselves look ridiculous. There’s a recurring element of self-delusion in their roles – I’m talented/I’m beautiful/I’m in control/I’m retaining my dignity etc – so there’s a tragicomic flavour to the humour,
Pongsak Pongsuwan (พงศ์ศักดิ์ พงษ์สุวรรณ), aka Theng Therdtherng (เท่ง เถิดเทิง) is the thin guy with the goattee and a taste for Thai ska. Got his big break in the Holy Man movies and appears frequently with the following two comics.
A versatile actor, he also plays some relatively straight or even romantic roles in movies.
Often plays police sergeants. Has been very successful as comic relief in action films (including Ong-Bak and Tom Yung Goong) for his trying-to-stay-serious-while-all-about-is-farce persona.
Regularly makes films in partnership with Theng, following the success of their 2007 comedy, Teng and Nong: The Movie (เท่งโหน่ง คนมาหาเฮีย).
Sudarat Butrprom (สุดารัตน์ บุตรพรหม) aka Tukkie (ตุ๊กกี้), diminutive comedienne and singer. A relative newcomer compared to the above, but frequently upstages them. A natural gestural comic, she can carry a feature film with little support, as evidenced by the recent Tukkie, the Frog Princess (ตุ๊กกี้เจ้าหญิงขายกบ), which was the fourth most successful film of 2010. (She was also the main reason for the success of the No2 film, สิ่งเล็กๆ ที่เรียกว่า…รัก.) Yes, I’m a fan.
An everpresent on talkshows and teen comedies.
Somchai Sakdikul (สมชาย ศักดิกุล), aka Somlek Sakdikul (สมเล็ก ศักดิกุล). A movie veteran in Thailand, he’s been on the scene for decades and has played straight roles as crime bosses and other baddies in addition to paying the rent as scruffy fathers and uncles in comedies. Has sported a distinctive musician’s moustache and longish hair for most of his career.
Updates to follow.
This article is part of our Beginner’s Guide to Thai Cinema.