When Paul Chowdhry walks out onto the stage of the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch on January 31, one main thought, he says, will be running through his mind. “When is it all going to end?“ You’d be forgiven for wondering, is the stand-up comic talking about his career or pondering his own mortality?
In 2003, he was subject to a racist attack; a disgruntled heckler took umbrage to his performance, so perhaps he’s referring to that.
“I come from the gangster world of comedy, I’m like 50 Cent,“ he jokes, reflecting on the incident. “I put someone down (verbally), they couldn’t handle it and so resorted to violence. It’s the only way some people can deal with a situation, now I wear a bullet proof face, so if it comes to it, they’ll just break their fist in the punching process.“ Or maybe the Edgware-raised comedian is making a wry observation about his career.
Since he burst onto the comedy scene, he has headlined Channel Four’s prime-time stand-up show Stand Up For The Week, sold out venues across the UK, and appeared in feature films Swinging With The Finkles alongside Martin Freeman and Jerry Stiller, and Colour Me Kubrick with John Malkovich.
“And now... where is the gig, again? Hornchurch? Where’s that? I think I’ve performed there before.
“Last year I had a DVD out, performed in front of 16,000 people at the 02 Arena with Lee Evans, Jonathan Ross... now I’m in, where is it again? Hornchurch? Things get better and better in life,“ he says tongue firmly in cheek.
Either way, Paul is never far from controversy, and his comedy, which is charged, dry, and observational humour, taps into the multicultural diversity of contemporary Britain.
“I used to watch a lot of stand up as a kid, British sitcoms and comedy in general,“ he says. “I grew up watching a lot of American stand ups, as well as a lot of traditional British comedy like Morecambe and Wise, Benny Hill and Bruce Forsythe, in fact, I do an impression of him.
“As for what makes me laugh? I like unusual stuff that’s not supposed to be funny. Like when you see someone falling over. This weather is great for it. Especially when you see someone’s hip break, there’s nothing funnier than that. Unless it’s your hip, if it’s your hip and it breaks, it’s a problem.
“I love doing stand up. I can do what I’m doing now to an audience. If you talk like this to ‘normal’ people they think you’re slightly insane. I’ve tried it in everyday life and people don’t really get you. They just think you’re a bit mental. “British people have the best sense of humour, but speaking as a Londoner, London people are very rude. They don’t care about each other, they’ll laugh at you if you fall and break your hip in the snow.“ Paul Chowdhry will perform at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch on Thursday, January 31. Details: 01708 443333 or www.queens-theatre.co.uk