• Thursday, December 01, 2022

Arts and Culture

Raj Poojara: I spent most of my life trying to convince people I’m Indian

By: ASJAD NAZIR

The British Asian stand-up scene has never been more vibrant than now, and this has given rise to great homegrown comedy stars such as Raj Poojara.
The fantastically talented funny man is part of The Indians Are Coming tour, which has been entertaining audiences around the country since October.

He has been part of an action-packed line-up of top performers on the popular laughter-filled tour, which continues until December 18.

Eastern Eye caught up with the rising stand-up star to discuss co­medy, the current tour and if being funny has ever helped him in real life.

What is it that first connected you to stand-up comedy?
When I was younger, me and my friends would sit around, and watch stand-up clips from Def Comedy Jam, Eddie Murphy, and other videos from that
generation. It just made me relate to that person and the power they could bring from their words to make people laugh.

What do you remember about your first time on stage?
My first time on stage was a showcase in East London. Right before I was going on stage, I stood by my car and thought ‘I could leave now’ but didn’t. I did the show, and it was amazing. That led towards me getting a second gig in a theatre with 400 people, op­e­ning for another comedian’s show.

What has been your most memorable stand-up gig so far?
You’d think it would be a big show that was amazing, but my most memorable was performing for two people. Two people that I brought with me.

How do you feel about being part of The Indians Are Coming line up?
It’s an absolute honour, mainly because I spent most of my life trying to convince people that I am Indian. This now feels like acceptance.

Does being on a bill with other comedians put pressure on you?
It doesn’t! We are a supportive community and whether a gig goes well or bad, we are there to support and obviously mock each other, which helps, believe me. It’s also nice in some gigs as you have someone who has a wealth of experience, and it’s a good way to learn off these comedians and grow.

What is your most Indian quality?
I’m an absolute kanjoos (stingy) and will save money wherever I can.

Who is the funniest Indian you know in real life?
My dad. He’s just one of those people that is funny without trying, but when he tries to be funny it’s a fail every time, which is hilarious too.

Has being funny ever helped you?
To be honest, it has probably got me in more trouble than helped.
Although with my old boss, if I was ever in trouble, I would just distract her with funny stories, until we both forgot why we were there.

Who is your comedy hero?
There’s so many, but it would have to be old school comics like Patrice O’Neil, Dave Chapelle, Eddie Murphy, and others from that generation.

Why should we come to The Indians Are Coming shows?
To laugh. That’s the simple answer. The line-ups on these shows are amazing (if I do say so myself) and we are a country in crisis, so forget about all of that and just come and laugh loudly.

Why do you love stand-up comedy?
You can’t beat the feeling you get when you say your punchline, and everyone laughs in unison. It hits you like a wave and is an addictive feeling.

Catch The Indian Are Coming tour at Cardiff (20), Hayes (23), central London (24), Coventry (25), Wolverhampton (2), Streatham (4), Edinburgh & Glasgow (11), Leeds and Manchester (18).
www.luventertainment.co.uk

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