Crackerjack comic: Amit Tandon's episode on Netflix's Comedians of the World is relatable to people of all ages
Six years ago, a 43-year-old man with an engineering and software background, running his own company, gave it all up to become a stand-up comic. Today, over 800 shows later, Amit Tandon, often referred to as the ‘married guy of stand-up comedy’ feels like he has truly arrived, with his debut special, titled Middle Class Karma, being featured in Netflix’s Comedians of the World series. “The show is largely about my experiences as a middle-class man, which I know a lot of people will relate to. Expect elaborate jokes on topics like being an average dad, the politics of children’s birthday parties and the drama of dining out,” says the Patiala-born comedian who will also be performing a stand-up show titled Not Getting Wiser in Chennai, as a part of his India tour next week.
Laughter, thrice over
Comedians of the World (boasting 46 other comics from 13 different regions and taped in eight different languages) also features two other comedians from India — Atul Khatri and Aditi Mittal — both of whom Tandon considers friends. “We have known each other from the time we started off. This is not the first time I am performing with them, but it surely is very special. We caught up backstage, in the green room, on a lot of gossip,” he quips, adding, “It was a much lighter atmosphere because they were around. As comedians, Aditi and Atul are different voices. Aditi has been offering an interesting take to her experiences as a female comedian from India, which has given voice to a lot of female performers. Atul, meanwhile, comes with a lot of urban stories, since he is from Mumbai. He is very honest on stage, and that is something that I relate to.”
Tough it up
Tandon has performed in the US, UK and Australia, but his success did not come easy. “I believe in staying honest to my voice. My stories are always personal and I believe in giving my opinions a voice. The road was not easy. Letting go of my ego was a huge step for me — when I was working my day job, I had 45 people reporting to me, and here I was at open-mics, struggling to get a laugh sometimes. The cycle of rejection for the first three years was tough to deal with,” says Tandon, who cites Johnny Lever, Papa CJ and Vir Das among his inspirations.
Keeping comedy clean
All his shows are performed largely in Hindi, but what sets Tandon truly apart from the rest, is that his comedy is clean, sans any cuss words, making it ‘appealing to audiences of all age groups’ – which he says he has come to realise with the overwhelming response to the Netflix special. “So far, I used to think that my audience was generally 35 years and older. I used to joke that I don’t get standing ovations because half my audience has joint pains. But now I am getting messages from people about how their 10-year-old kids are identifying with my stories. And it is really heartening that my stories are not limited to my generation alone and is touching the younger ones as well,” notes the comedian, who is currently on a multi-city tour.
Comedians of the World streams on Netflix.