Thailand’s Mr Bean plays jails for laughs

Mongkol Preechajan, Thailand's Mr. Bean, rehearses before performing for prison inmates as the popular British TV comedy character | © AFP | LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA
Mongkol Preechajan, Thailand's Mr. Bean, rehearses before performing for prison inmates as the popular British TV comedy character | © AFP | LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA

Nakhon Nayok (Thailand) (AFP) | 14 February 2018 3:46

Mongkol Preechajan, a 43-year-old father from Phuket with more than a passing resemblance to the British character played by Rowan Atkinson, shot to fame after trying out the miming routine on the popular “Thailand’s Got Talent” TV show in 2016.

Mongkol said his fascination with Mr Bean started as a teenager, when he became a fan of the British show and the character's 'cheeky and cute personality'
Mongkol said his fascination with Mr Bean started as a teenager, when he became a fan of the British show and the character’s ‘cheeky and cute personality’ | © AFP | LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA

The video went viral — one YouTube clip has been watched over five million times — turning Mongkol into an overnight celebrity in a country where Mr Bean is among the most popular foreign comic turns, in part because his speechless routines cut through language barriers.

Now Mongkol tours Thailand performing sketches and posing for selfies as the famously buffoonish character.

Mongkol said his fascination with Mr Bean started as a teenager, when he became a fan of the British show and the character’s “cheeky and cute personality”.

He has since spent hours twisting his face and arching his eyebrows in front of a mirror to hone Mr Bean’s trademark expressions.

“It’s quite hard because Mr Bean doesn’t speak and only communicates through his facial expressions and his body movements — that was really hard to practise,” Mongkol told AFP.

Mongkol Preechajan, Thailand's Mr. Bean, performs for prisoners
Mongkol Preechajan, Thailand’s Mr. Bean, performs for prisoners | © AFP | LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA

In addition to Bangkok comedy gigs and TV spots, the newfound celebrity is also performing at jails around the country in a bid to brighten up prison life.

A recent performance brought him to Nakhon Nayok province, where hundreds of inmates roared with laughter as he jittered around the stage with his iconic teddy bear.

“There were a lot of laughs,” one inmate told AFP after the show. “It has lightened up the mood here a lot.”

© 2018 AFP

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