Sugar, not spice


When life gets tough, do comedy, is the best advice Amin Ahmed aka Sugar Daddy will give you

Laughter is probably humanity’s greatest weapon against the vicissitudes of life. Ask stand-up veteran Amin Ahmed and he’ll give you a loud, resounding ‘whoop!’. Better known by his stage name, Sugar Daddy, Amin is best known for his candid take on personal experiences and life.

A proper Bengaluru boy, the veteran comic talks of growing up in the city and how it shaped his sense of humour. “I was born in Bangalore in 1965. You can imagine how beautiful the city was. Everyone knew one another. If someone new came to the neighbourhood, you could ask anyone and you’ll get that person’s entire history. That was the old Bangalore. Frazer Town, Cox Town, Cooke Town; we had Anglo-Indians, Germans, Italians and British – we were surrounded by Western culture. It was also the dawn of the indie era so we had plenty of good music. Those were happy days with jam sessions and stories.”

Insisting that we don't mention his age, he quips: “I’m 18 till I die. I feel like it too and even have a show with the same name. The whole vibe of Frazer Town ebbs in me. I meet a lot of old friends and we notice we talk a little differently compared to the current generation.”

Sugar, not spice

Comedy wasn't his first job though. “I started working at an early age. I went to St. Joseph’s College of Commerce after schooling in St. Germain High School. I did one year in college, and my best friend Gordan and I dropped out. We joined a travel agency. He went in the courier line and I became a travel guy. I became the youngest regional manager at SOTC at 23. That, however, was my last job. I went to the States. I started a company when I returned. All kinds of things happened – Personal life, family life, work life. Life got serious. I had no choice. I went into comedy.”

Life took a turn for the better when another of his friends, Perry Menzies, (who owns Urban Solace) asked him to try a hand at comedy. “What did I have to lose? When I started talking about my problems on stage instead of talking to a psychiatrist, people started clapping. They seemed very happy to hear about my problems. That’s how it all started. Since then, it has been a fantastic journey, lots of shows around the world.”

On whether comedy has helped him cope, Amin says, “Among various darknesses, I had a silver lining from above called comedy. I was not driven by ‘I am funny’ or ‘I want to become a great comedian’. It was more about ‘I have to keep myself positive’, so the funny things actually helped personally. But it also carved out a place for me professionally.” On stage, Amin covers a wide time span. “I talk about what the past was, what life was then and how technology came into situations. We didn’t have any of that back then,” he comments on technology. “We used to climb a tree and scream. There was nothing else to do. Even Arnab Goswami was born during that same time. We used to invent games.”

The journey he hopes, “is taking me to more money,” he laughs. “Money is good. I also hope to do more gigs.”

Sugar, not spice

Commenting on the scene, Amin says: “Whoever came first is sitting on top. Many are talented and others are not. There is plenty of politics when someone new tries to enter. As a result, the scene is breaking up into different factions. I’m connected with my network. They may not be the most famous but they are funny. I get to do a lot with underdogs. I’m also in a position to push them. I don’t want them to go through what I did.” He points out that it is not fair that people don't get the opportunity they deserve. “Within comedians, there is a lot of insecurity. For me, age, mental conditioning and maturity, has helped me surpass all that.”

Of his moniker Sugar Daddy, Amin says: “I make fun of growing old. I don’t want to be a normal old man. I want to be someone special. So I start off with a joke on being called a sugar daddy. I make fun of my name and how it translates into other languages, like chinni papa rasgulla' or 'rasgulappa'. It’s just a spin on life and a great way to start a show.”

Amin says open mics are entry points. “They are difficult to get. Stage time is often just five minutes. There are tons of comics out there and they are all talented. You wonder why they’re not famous. But it is a tough world and I am doing all I can to help.”

Catch Sugar Daddy live at a special show in XU, Leela Palace, on July 1 called ‘18 till I die’ with Suhas Navaratna and Kartekeya Fatwani. Tickets on BookMyShow and Insider.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 6:39:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/sugar-not-spice/article24253045.ece

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