We managed to get a quick interview with Amit about his journey as a comedian, the stand up comedy growth in India and his likes and dislikes. Have a read and find out what makes him tick.
Q : Hi Amit, firstly from all of us here at Limn Entertainment & Snap, it is an absolute honor to host you for our second episode at Siri Fort Auditorium in Delhi on 25th March. We understand it`s been a while since you performed in Delhi and Siri Fort, how does it feel to be back?
It feels great to be back in Siri fort, I think it is the most prestigious venue that we have in Delhi. It was a dream venue for me at one point in time. It was on my bucket list, so it is always great coming back here. The size and the setup of this place is so amazing and coming back to Delhi is coming back to home, because here I don’t have to think twice, ki ye joke kisi ko samajh ayega ya nahi, Because this is home, this is where I grew up. So when I talk here then I don’t have to think twice before saying anything, because I know everybody else is almost like a family to me, you know. Anyone who has grown-up in Delhi would understand what I am trying to say.
Q: How has your journey been so far in the stand-up comedy space? Did you always know you wanted to do stand-up or did it just happen? Do you remember that moment when you knew this is what you wanted to do?
Comedy was never on my roadmap, you know until the age of 35-36 I was running my own business. Started getting into comedy just as a hobby, because during college time I used to write for plays etc., used to host annual events but after that for ten-fifteen years I had done nothing. Got into comedy because the open mic was starting and it was an interesting opportunity so, you know, go there after work to freshen up and all that, but then as I started getting on stage people started laughing, they liked my jokes, not in the beginning but over a period of time. That moment I decided that this is what I wanted to do. I think that happened around 2013 after 2 and a half years of being in comedy I did my first solo show at the epicenter in Gurgaon and that’s when I realized that this is something that I am going to do throughout my life now. 250 people who had paid money, bought tickets to watch me and I was on stage alone for the first time for one hour. So that’s when I decided this is what I am going to do.
Q: Tell us a little bit about Grandmasters of comedy.
Grandmaster of comedy is my company. I started it with focus on providing comedy related services to the corporate world. It could be training, it could be you know, making the work place more fun but honestly, I have not been able to pursue all of it, because my own comedy career took off at a fairly fast rate. So did not get much time to do that but maybe someday I’ll work on it further. But yes, we are now working on Grandmaster of comedy to build content of different types, going beyond just standup comedy and you will probably hear about it soon.
Q: What do you think of the stand-up comedy space in India right now and where do you see it heading in the near future?
The Stand-up comedy space has been growing at a terrific rate in the last 5-6 years. I think the audience that we are reaching out to has grown ten times every year and we are going at that pace every year so it’s amazing how people have responded. That’s partly due to Bollywood movies which are not doing too well so people consider comedy as a good alternative. In the near future, I think we will see a little bit of a settlement happening because all of us are writers and then got into comedy. So you probably will see the comedians getting into the different forms of mediums in addition to stand-up comedy as well. You will see some series coming out which has already started and we will see some national television programme also coming out hopefully from standup comedians.
Q: Which Indian & International comics do you follow?
There are quite a few Indian and International comedians that I follow. I love watching a lot of them. In India, I like watching Rahul Subramanian a lot. Then there is Abhijeet Ganguly. I like watching his videos as well. There are quite a few others, quite a few names. You look at a Kunal Kamra for example, Abhishek Upmanyu is brilliant. Internationally I like following Bill Burr, he is pretty good and I used to watch George Carlin as well.
Q: Your most memorable show of 2017 was and why?
Probably it was Siri Fort only because it was on the bucket list at that time. For three years I would look at Siri Fort and say “yaar “Kabhi yaha PE show karengien”. So 8th of April, 2017 I did that show and we were sold out so that was the most memorable for me.
Q: Your favorite cities to perform in India and Internationally are?
Not many specific cities but yeah from experiences recently, I think Toronto would be on the list amongst, New Jersey , London and Sydney. These are the four cities, which have been amazing.
Then in India, Delhi, of course, is home. Bangalore is a lot of fun. Performing in Bangalore is always great fun and then there is Hyderabad. Hyderabad crowd is crazy. These are the cities I like currently.
Q: What is the biggest difference between performing in India and abroad?
I don’t see too much of a difference actually because I am dealing with the same crowd. But abroad when I am performing, you know, I am performing primarily for, again the Desi crowd and but its mix of Indians and Pakistani. These are people who want to be in touch with their motherland and so a lot of my comedy is around stories back home. So that’s a big difference. The kind of applause you get by an international audience especially on nostalgia joke is very crazy.
Q: Do you think the audience in India has evolved with time as well with regards to stand-up comedy?
Yes, I think the Indian audience has evolved a lot in the last few years, the exposure and everything. Now they understand stand-up comedy as an art form, so yes they have really evolved a lot.
Q: Your favorite vacation spot in India and internationally is?
My favorite vacation spot in India is Goa and internationally is London. It is a very, very pretty place.
Q: Your favorite food/dish is?
My favorite food “yaar merko daal chawal kabhi bhi mil jaye and aalo pyaaj ka parantha”
Q: 3 Things you will always find in Amit Tandon’s pockets are?
There will be a handkerchief always, and my wallet and the phone. That’s all.
Q: A memorable moment with a fan that you can never forget?
I have received an e-mail from somebody. A lady in America who has been terminally ill and has been in the hospital and she wrote to me “thanks to you, I at least get to smile again when I am at the hospital” so that was very memorable.
Q: What does 2018 have in store for Amit Tandon?
So in 2018, I am moving to Bombay in March. There are some interesting opportunities that you will see, can’t name the project but yes there is a lot of excitement building up about stuff that is going to happen there. And I am bringing back my show that I used to do four years ago, at a much larger scale. The show is called Tandon Talkies which is about 110 days on Indian cinema .So stay tuned you will probably see more of that show coming out in August, 2018.
That’s Amit for you. Book your tickets to Episode 2 of Snap featuring the man himself here.