‘I’ve been blackmailed to host top comic showcase’

Comedian Paul Chowdhry will host the comedy extravaganza at the Stratford Circus on Saturday night

Comedian Paul Chowdhry will host the comedy extravaganza at the Stratford Circus on Saturday night - Credit: Archant

Hosting a show featuring headline acts Seann Walsh and Angela Barnes? “I couldn’t think of anything worse,” jokes Paul Chowdhry.

The UK’s number one Asian comedian is dripping in ironic self-deprecation as he suggests that he might just “pull a sickie” ahead of Saturday’s highly anticipated line-up at the Stratford Circus.

“I’m sure there would be some relieved fans if I’m taken off the bill,” he says. “I’ve got to the point in my career where a friend has called in a favour and is essentially blackmailing me.

“Everyone has times where they have to do things that they don’t want to do, and this is one of those times.”

Well, you can’t blame Chowdhry for feeling a bit worn out.

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He’s just finished a sell-out 80-date tour across the country after all, including a week-long residency at London’s Leicester Square Theatre. But, cutting through all the bravado, being on stage and making people laugh is what he loves most.

“Irony doesn’t come across well in print, it only really works well in person and on television,” Chowdhry explains.

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“And irony is why I love British humour, better than anywhere else on the planet.”

So that explains his reaction when he thanks me for “breaking the bad news” to him when I let him know who’s appearing on the bill alongside him.

Although that doesn’t mean that he’ll let them have too much of a look in.

“My stand-up is two hours so I’ll take the best out of it and stick it in, so that’s two hours, and then I’ll give the others a go,” he says. “I’ll be eating into their time, basically. It’s going to be a long show.”

The winner of Lafta Funniest Stand Up 2013 does sometimes cause controversy with his comments, which Chowdhry says is because he likes to treat audiences as if they were his friends.

“One person’s humour is another person’s offence,” he explains. “In social situations you are expected to treat people in different ways but I like to push it as far as I can.”

You have been warned.

Laughing Boy Comedy Club returns to Stratford Circus on Saturday from 8pm. Tickets cost £15. To book, visit stratford-circus.com or call the box office on 0844 357 2625.

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