Stand-up comedian Amit Tandon in Australia to make you laugh!

By Neeru Saluja

Stand-up comedian Amit Tandon has arrived in Sydney to embark on his Australian tour of performing in seven cities.

Thanks to Heart and Soul Productions led by Arun Nanda and Rushi Dave, who have brought him to Australia as a solo artist for the first time. Reaching out to a wider audience by targeting young couples and keeping tickets at an affordable price, they have managed not only to take the show to major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth, but also to Canberra and Newcastle.

Amit’s punchlines on a typical middle class family, married life and kids have made him extremely popular him having performed  more than 700 shows across three continents.

Now that he is in Australia, he says he has written some good jokes especially for the audience here.  As he was getting his act ready, we talked to him in an exclusive interview.

Australia can’t wait to see you perform as you mark your debut performance in Sydney. As the excitement builds up with your fans, what are you looking forward to?

After a successful show in New Zealand, I’m really looking forward to performing in Sydney. My target audience is Indians. If you go to USA and UK, you have Indians who have lived there for generations. While in Australia, you have the first generation Indians where my core following belongs to. New Zealand was a crazy show and I’m expecting nothing less from Australia!

You are India’s most favourite stand-up comedian, making people laugh with your stand up acts. We would love to hear about what takes it to write and perform comedy?

A lot happens behind the scenes. It takes a long time to write comedy. One show takes about one year including the writing and travelling. The Australian shows have taken around nine months of preparation. I do a lot of homework researching about the country before I perform. I always try to implement local references to make the show more personal and interactive.

You are armed with a mechanical engineering degree and a MBA from Delhi IIT. How did you venture into comedy?

I was running my HR consulting business till 2010 which is still in operation. I started getting a bit bored of the daily routine of work. This was supposed to be a hobby as ”˜Open Mike’ was just starting in Delhi, where you can present on stage for five minutes. I made a new range of friends there ”“ people from the advertising agency, television, theatre and students, making the conversations richer. The high of making people laugh makes you come back again and again. For four years, it was purely a hobby. Meanwhile, comedy was getting popular in India and the ”˜Comedy Store London’ had opened in Delhi and Mumbai. By the end of 2014, I made a decision that comedy is what I want to do. In 2016, I started releasing my videos and fortunately they went viral.

And that’s when Amit Tandon ”˜The Married Guy’ became a household name!

I was actually the only married guy on the comedy circuit in those days, as most stand-up comedians were young kids or students. I would also talk about stuff on marriage and kids. So people started calling me ”˜The Married Guy’ and the tag just stuck.

So what are the pros and cons of comedy as an entertainment medium?

Comedy has it’s pros and cons. For example, theatre is a medium which is expensive as you have to travel with all the performers and props. Where as in comedy, I only need a microphone and a good spotlight. But in theatre you have close to twelve people supporting you, a director directing you and a writer writing the script for you. While in comedy I’m the writer, director and the performer! Saying that, comedy gives you a big high.

So in your career of performing live, which was your biggest high?

There are two kinds of show. One is the most memorable and the other is the most satisfactory. I shall talk about the most satisfactory performance. It was a show I did for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of India, which was attended by patients and relatives. After the show, I interacted with the audience. The parents of a 19 year old girl couldn’t stop thanking me and said ”˜aapko pata hai, hum ek ek saal nahi haste’. We normally plan our vacation, but they haven’t had a single day off. When such people come and thank you, you feel blessed. I thank God that I did something for them and brought some happiness in their lives.

You have also recently interviewed the team of Jaspal Bhatti’s popular show ”˜Flop Show. How was it going down the memory lane?

Jaspal Bhatti is the pioneer of satire comedy in India. The beauty of his work is much more than Flop show. As a comedian when I look at him, even after 27 years ”˜Flop show’ is still funny and you can watch his show. It never went beyond 10 episodes because the last episode was ridiculing Doordarshan itself. Nobody has done clean comedy better than him. I really look up to him. He was a writer, director, actor and cartoonist and his show was related to social issues.

Eleven shows. Seven cities. How did Heart and Soul Productions approach you to perform in seven cities Down Under?

Organisers Arun Nanda and Rushi Dave

They called me and mentioned how Australia loves my videos and asked me if I wanted to perform. The response has been so amazing that they had to add extra shows in Melbourne and Adelaide. Heart and Soul Productions have worked really hard towards these shows. Our relationship has gone beyond an artist and a promoter, we are friends now.

What will the Sydney audience expect from you?

I will tell my experiences as a middle class person growing up in India. The jokes won’t be the same as you see in the videos. I shall talk about social media and my family, but in a different way.

Get ready, a riot of laughter has arrived in Australia!

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