Dad jokes

Amit Tandon returns to Delhi, the city he grew up in, with a new stand-up act

Amit Tandon is bringing his new stand-up comedy show Not Getting Wiser to Delhi. The 90-minute solo show is largely about his challenges with parenting two kids. “When you have one child, you become a parent; when you have two, you become a referee,” he says, of the foibles of the trade. Excerpts from an interview.

Tell us about your parenting experiences.

I have two kids; one is 14 and the other is 13. Parenting has evolved a lot over the last few years. It used to be about keeping a tab on your kid. Today it has become about micro-managing your kid. Our report cards used to be half-a-page long. Now we have six-page report cards. When we were growing up we were conscious of what we did in front of our parents. Now we are conscious of what we do in front of our kids.

What are the advantages of having kids with a small age gap?

We are happy. We could change diapers with closed eyes. We didn’t need to turn on the lights. If there is a considerable age gap, parenting becomes tougher because you have to relearn the entire process. You have to develop patience all over again.

What would you say about the Delhi audience?

The Delhi audience has evolved. It is not as cosmopolitan as Mumbai, but you are tuned to different kinds of comedy. When you come in for a show you no longer have to start with slapstick jokes. I am from Delhi, so I am always confident about performing here. In fact, I stop mid-way through a joke and let the audience complete it. Delhi has a thinking audience now.

There are so many stand-up comedians these days…

There is much more variety now. We are not competing in the same space. We cater to different kinds of audiences. Looking at the size of the Indian population, there is enough work for everybody. My audience starts from tier-2 cities, from 30 years onwards. From the beginning, I have been conscious of the language I use, so people are okay bringing their parents along. This works very well for me.

Did the Netflix show bring you a different kind of audience?

In India, its reach is limited to niche corners. What it did was, it added to my international audience. I am getting a lot more shows. My US tour is still three months away, but in most of the cities, we are already sold out.

You don’t comment on political issues…

Most of my time is spent with my kids, attending their parent-teacher meetings, taking care of the house and the like. So my stories are about what happens with us every day. However, I have commented on issues like demonetisation, because it affected me: my wife would frequently send me to the ATM nearby.

Do you sometimes fear that one day you will run out of jokes?

That is a constant fear: that you’ve exhausted your best material. You question whether you have the capacity left to bring new insight. I usually run my news jokes through comedian friends like Niti Palta. My wife also gives me feedback.

What is more important: content or style?

It should be a combination of both, 50:50. If you have great content, but you do not deliver it properly, people don’t remember. If you have too much style, but no content, you end up being a slapstick comedian.

Amit Tandon will perform at Siri Fort Auditorium, Saturday, 8.p.m.

Anuj Kumar

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