Tandoori Kings of Comedy perform at Bell Centre

First in an annual series of stand-up shows.

Mike Zhao / The Runner

Mike Zhao / The Runner

On Nov. 8, Surrey-based performance company South Asian Arts hosted the Tandoori Kings of Comedy at the Bell Performing Arts centre. Four well-known local comics performed in a hilarious night of South Asian themed stand-up comedy.

Gurpreet Sian, Executive Director of South Asian Arts, says the show is the first South Asian stand-up comedy show of its kind in Surrey, although they’re hoping it will become an annual tradition.

“It has a very South Asian feel,” says Sian. “What we’re hoping to do is create this grassroots show that we can keep doing every single year, with different comedians.”

Comics Hollywood Harv and Sunee Dhaliwal headlined the show in front of a nearly sold out (excluding the balcony level) Bell Centre. Also performing were opening acts Cliff Prang and the show’s only female comic, Ash Dhawan. The show was hosted by Munish Sharma with music by DJ 151.

Punjabi life in Surrey was a consistent theme in each comic’s routine. The show was very much a celebration and lampooning of South Asian culture and daily life in Canada.

“My material comes from my daily life. It’s all based on my friends and people around me and the funny stuff that they do,” says headliner Hollywood Harv. He has been doing comedy for six years, and in the past he’s performed in front of a sold-out Vogue theatre and on Comedy Central. Interestingly enough, Harv had his first standup show at the Bell Centre nearly six years ago to the day and this is the first time he’s performed in Surrey since that show.

“I plan on doing a lot of stuff that relates to the Surrey audience, and doing a lot of stuff that I grew up with or other Indo-Canadian kids my age grew up with and we can all relate to,” he said before the show.

Sunee Dhaliwal started doing comedy at Yuk Yuk’s comedy club in Vancouver seven years ago. Since then, Dhaliwal has performed at Just for Laughs Montreal and on CTV’s Comedy Now. Dhaliwal is also working on a show for CBC along with Tandoori Kings of Comedy opening act Cliff Prang. The show is called Buddyguys and is being pitched as part of CBC’s Comedy Coup competition.

“. . . I joke about anything that’s odd to me in my day-to-day life,” says Dhaliwal. “. . . Like growing up in a traditional household or being born in Vancouver Canadianized. There’s a lot of weird things that as a Canadian culture we do that I don’t understand . . . and there’s a lot that my parents do that I have no idea what they’re doing.”

South Asian Arts is a non-profit organization that has been working around Metro Vancouver since 2005 to put on cultural events and to provide exposure for local performers. Other credits for the organization include the live sketch comedy series I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter Chicken and musical theatre event Bollywood Wedding, as well as many other live theatre and dance performances. Tandoori Kings of Comedy marks the organization’s first pure stand-up comedy event.

“One of the mandates of [South Asian Arts] is to provide a platform for artists to showcase their talents whether they’re amateur artists or professional artists.” says Sian.

The show’s comics were all extremely funny and it made for a hilarious and very enjoyable evening. While the humor was largely centered around South Asian culture, the comics did a great job of making sure the jokes were accessible to audiences of any background. Overall, South Asian Arts’s first stab at stand-up comedy was a strong success, leaving the audience with plenty of reasons to be excited for next year’s show.

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