Paul Chowdhry on his 2015 DVD release ‘PC’s World’
Paul Chowdhry has made quite a splash in the comedy world. With national sold-out tours and numerous awards, such as the Asian Professional Media Award and Loaded Laftas Funniest Stand-Up of 2013, it’s no wonder the London-born comedian is going from strength to strength.
After the success of his 1st DVD release, Chowdhry’s 2nd DVD ‘PC’s World’ is set to split sides! The Asian Today speak to him about his current success.
Who are your comedic inspirations?
I had a lot of comedic inspirations, a lot of friends and family. Growing up in the 80’s, a lot of my family members were hardcore Panjabi and a lot of the characters I’ve created are from that era. The comedians I used to watch were Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Sam Kinison, all those kinda guys.
Stand-up comedy isn’t a conventional career, especially with Asians. When did you decide that this was what you wanted to do?
Forget Asians, it’s not conventional with anyone. Even if an English person said to his parents, “I want to be a comedian,” his dad would say, “what you talking about?” It’s a very risky thing to do, but you gotta follow your dreams, otherwise you don’t know if it’s going to work or not. If I never tried it, I’d never know if I could be in this position.
When did you personally realise that you could do this? Did you stand in front of the mirror and try out a couple of jokes?
I used to write jokes at home and tell stories to my friends and they used to find it funny. When I used to talk in class, I’d get kicked out of the classroom because everyone would start laughing! So I thought I might as well try this. I was going to try it when I was 16 and then when I was 17. Eventually I got round to it when I was 24 after I graduated, and it worked. I was quite surprised.
Was if difficult for you to pursue stand-up comedy being from an Asian descent?
Anything is difficult, if you wanna be a Hollywood actor or a Bollywood actor or you want to become a singer. But stand-up comedy; it’s probably the purest art form. There are no special effects, there are no sets, there are no actors, there’s only you and a microphone, so it is the most difficult and purest art form and the realest when it comes to performance. You’re not dancing or anything – I’m just talking into a microphone.
“I used to write jokes at home and tell stories to my friends and they used to find it funny. When I used to talk in class, I’d get kicked out of the classroom because everyone would start laughing!”
What would you say has been your most memorable gig, good or bad?
So far, it’s my DVD. I did 3 nights at the Apollo; I performed in front of 15,000 in that week. I was the biggest selling act in London and I performed in front of 100,000 people on this tour. This year, the biggest selling tour was Kevin Bridges, second was Michael McIntyre and I was number 3. If people come out and see me, it’s the most humbling thing, it’s just getting people out there and I’m quite honoured for them to come and watch me.
Does your comedy have any underlying message? Is it just banter and humour?
In this DVD there’s probably an undertone of a slight message in terms of what political correctness is these days and what people believe it to be. We all adapt to social environments and we’re different around different people. Everyone’s pretending to be something they’re not. Everyone’s following the herd; no-one really knows what someone actually wants or what they believe in.
What do you make of social media in today’s world?
It’s just another form of control, not many people voice their true opinion. When I put a joke up, I get a lot of flack for it but I have to stand by my jokes.
Some of your content has been quite controversial; you must have had some backlash for it. How have you dealt with it?
If someone can’t take a joke, that’s not my problem – it’s theirs. No-one’s getting hurt here, it’s just telling a joke. We live in a world where you tell a joke and you’ve offended someone. If you choose to be offended, you can choose to not be offended, it’s up to you. You can walk away, and don’t watch me.
Earlier we discussed where you got your material from. Is a lot of it based on your observations or are there other areas that you look at as well?
I just base it on my life and personal stories and anecdotes and what I believe in. A lot of it is autobiographical like in PC’s World, I go through certain scenarios. It follows my life over the last couple of years and my upbringing, what I went through in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
Do you think we’ve gone OTT with being PC?
I don’t believe anything is PC; everyone is different around different people. Your PC is going to be very different to my PC. I might get offended by something you say but you might think it’s very PC to say that. No-one knows what PC is, if you asked someone ‘what is PC?’, nobody would actually be able to answer the question.
So what the next big thing for Paul Chowdhry?
I’ve got this DVD coming out, biggest DVD I have ever released and the biggest show I’ve performed – it’s the best tour I’ve ever done. I’ve got some other things in the pipe-line; I’m headlining Live at the Apollo for BBC2 and I have a couple of TV shows next year that I haven’t announced yet. There might also be a collaboration in the future.
Paul Chowdhry’s PC’s World is available on Digital Download now, and to own on DVD from 30th November 2015. Pre-order here http://amzn.to/1kfnksh