'The comedy scene is fresh in India'

Right timing
Last Updated 20 October 2013, 12:12 IST

British comedian and author Andy Zaltzman is best known for mixing humour with cricket, which he swiftly presents at all his stand-up comedy acts.

Metrolife caught up with the quirky comedian and got him talking about his experiences on blending comedy and sports.

Andy feels that the ‘comedy scene’ in the country is in an exciting phase. “There are a lot of interesting comics making their way into the Indian market. British alternative stand-up scene is almost 35 years old, so it is set in its own way. The comedy scene is fresh in India,” he says.

He thinks and adds, “What I find interesting is the number of routines, especially in Mumbai, where they begin in English and end with a Hindi punchline but this might not be the case in Bangalore.”

Andy’s relationship with cricket is a lifelong obsession. He smiles and says, “At a very young age, I came to the conclusion that cricket is better than reality. As I grew up, I wanted to be a cricket writer but I ended up taking to comedy. Then, I got a chance to write for ESPN Cricinfo, where I could explore both my passions.”

Andy’s favourite cricketers are not just English sports stars, but even Mohammad Azharuddin and Vivian Richards figure prominently in the list.  “Also, anyone who bowls really fast is always good to watch,” says Andy.

Observing that for Indians, cricket is almost like breathing, Andy says that it is much more of a universal passion and cultural reference point in India. “It’s almost like football in England. There’s a deep love for the game and thus it’s easier to do comedy related to cricket in India,” he says.

Andy recalls when he was in Mumbai for the World Cup final, after the matches, the streets saw a ‘massive explosion of excitement’.

“The joy the sport can bring to the people here is inexplicable. The various versions of the game being played by laymen on the streets show the scope of the game,” says Andy.

So, why mix cricket and comedy? Pat comes the reply, “Often, the best comedy comes from something you really care for.”

Despite coming to the City for the third time, Andy feels that he hasn’t seen enough of the place.

 “It’s definitely a fascinating and interesting place,” he says. Andy also states that of the entire country, the weather here is the most acceptable.

“What I’ve noticed about Bangalore during the drive from the airport is how there are huge billboards about luxury apartments,” says Andy. “It looks like in the next 50 years, there would be more apartments than people in Bangalore,” Andy laughs and wraps up.

(Published 20 October 2013, 12:12 IST)

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