Laughter and more

A Complete Act Entertainer Ash Chandler in action

A Complete Act Entertainer Ash Chandler in action  

Entertainer Ash Chandler reveals what is below his many hats to NANDINI NAIR

He is not only a stand-up comedian. He is a one-man entertainment extravaganza. Musician, mimic, commentator and stand-up comedian Ash Chandler regaled audiences at a recent event organised by the U.K.-based group Avanta. Held at InterContinental The Grand, the show brought the house down.

Ash Chandler is a man of many talents. He has cut a music CD, he owns a highly successful Italian restaurant in Mumbai, he’s a frequent TV host and is credited with being one of the first English stand-ups in India. Having grown up in the U.S., he started with gigs in America. But it is in India that he has found his unique niche.

He combines different genres and sensibilities. He explains, “My act is not stand-up. It’s variety entertainment.” Elaborating on his passion, he continues, “I perform, it’s what nature has made me do. It’s not been a conscious choice. Everything that has happened in my life has led to this.”

With all his different passions, can he choose one over the others? “Absolutely not,” he emphasises. “As an individual I do this and that. I love too many things. Maybe I’m not good at any one thing!”

Different scenarios pose different challenges to him. While many entertainers might find corporate events a bore, he sees the possibilities. “The challenge is, it’s not like a club where they’ve bought a ticket to see you. That’s why it’s an uphill task. But the big advantage is that once you have a good night — you have a captive audience.” Another drawback of corporate events is that they might not facilitate the same degree of interaction as normal stand-up gigs. His act also becomes cleaner at corporate dos. After all, people don’t laugh at off colour jokes when they’re sitting near their boss!

Ash’s brand of humour has changed since he first came to India. He says, “When I first came here, my content was raunchier. But then I realised I don’t have to be hardcore to be funny.” On his return, he figured, “Real stand-up has to be about the country you are in.” He found that it was imperative to talk about things that the audience have experienced.

But interestingly, Ash believes, “Stand-up is a not a profession suited to the Indian masses.” His reason is simple. “In India all forms of entertainment are about escape. But stand-up in its very essence is about ‘this is what you are and this is who you are’,” he says. He believes that essentially Indians don’t like to laugh at themselves. It’s for this reason India doesn’t have any stand-up comedy clubs.

As of now, Ash continues to be busy. His English-Spanish music album is slated for release in America. He hopes to take his restaurant Da Vinci national. He’s meeting new film directors for a possible movie project. He lists out his activities, as he adds the finishing touches to a pasta dish at his home in Goa.

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