Is Paul Chowdhry truly Prince’s long lost brother?
Comedian Paul Chowdhry is fast becoming a name on the UK comedy circuit. Having faced crowds at Glastonbury and the Edinburgh Festival, standing in front of a diverse crowd at last months Mela extravaganza in Birmingham was probably a lot easier. We caught up with the comedian born Tajpaul Singh Chowdhry to find out what he thought of his first Mela experience, and whether he’s flattered or flabbergasted when quizzed on his uncanny resemblance to pop icon Prince!
How was the Mela (NEC Mela 06 Nov 15-17) experience for you?
It was a different type of event to the shows I normally perform at. The stage I appeared on consisted of music, music, more music and me doing jokes before an audience consisting of children, families and ‘innit-boys (boys that say innit a lot)’! It was a great experience.
You had quite a mixed crowd in terms of age ranges at the Mela. Is it difficult deciding what material to use knowing that there is a diverse audience out there?
Yes the age range was incredible, at least ten generations there. I did eight shows in the two thousand seated theatre area. I saw grandmas with three-month-old babies in the front row. I had six-year-old kids coming up to me after the shows wanting to take pictures with me and telling me how funny I am. I couldn’t believe they actually understood me! Lucky I did my family material! I think I have a new fan base. The Chuckle Brothers better watch their backs!
Is your name really Paul?
Yes it’s my real name. My full name is Tajpaul Singh Chowdhry. But people have called me Paul since I went to School at three years old. Think it was easier for them!
Has anybody ever told you could well be Prince’s long lost Asian brother?
I have had the Prince comment over the years. People would shout it out as I walked on stage so I worked it into my act. I have been known to sing classics such as Purple Rain with certain bands at late night shows in London and The Edinburgh Festival. I heard some people actually go up to Prince and say, “Has anybody ever told you could well be Paul Chowdhry’s long lost brother?” He agrees!
We all find you funny Paul, but who do you find funny?
It’s easy to say I find other comedians funny, which I do. But its real people I find the funniest. The kind of people that don’t even know they’re funny. People that work night shift in petrol stations, illegal minicab/DVD sellers and the Police.
How did you get to become a comedian?
Comedy has been in my blood from a very young age, since three or four month old. Comedians have a slightly different mind set to ‘normal’ people. We think of everyday occurrences in an unusual way. Some people find these perspectives funny and pay money to hear them. Other people think we’re mad.
What’s the best thing about being a comedian? And the worst?
The best part of comedy is the immediate reaction you evoke in a human being you’ve never even met before. The only other job you can do that in is a hooker. Comedy is less uncomfortable. The worst thing is sometimes you feel like a hooker!
There are a few Asian comedians out there – Shazia Mirza, Paul Sinha, Russell Peters – is it fair to label them as ‘Asian comedians’, or should they be viewed without their ethnic tag?
It depends on the type of comedy you do. I’ve gone through my career playing to every type of audience. All races and all demographics. There are so few ‘Asian’ comedy shows that it would be impossible to just play that circuit. You’d also limit yourself artistically. Comedy is colour blind. I’d just like to be known as a comic who happens to be Asian. I talk about everyone and everything.
Do you draw on personal issues in your routine?
Almost all of my comedy comes from personal situations, thoughts and stories. This gives your audience an insight into ‘who’ you are. It’s a lot more personal than simple joke telling. You want them to think this is something we can’t say or do.
What’s your best joke?
I’d like to say all of them. I also hope I haven’t even written my best joke yet, because there’s only one direction to go after that. My routines change over time so much that it depends upon what I’m talking about at a certain time.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your comedy and why do you think it registers so well with people?
My inspiration simply comes from life. I had these thoughts before I took to the stage. Now I have a form to release these thoughts. I can exercise those demons.
Is your life one big jolly laugh?
For further info, exclusive videos and tour dates go to www.paulchowdhry.com