Tandoori Kings of Comedy perform one night only

South Asian Arts hosts live standup at the Bell Centre.

By Joseph Keller

Stand up fans in Surrey won’t need to go far for a show this weekend, as the Tandoori Kings of Comedy perform on Nov. 8 at the Bell Centre for the Performing Arts. Headlined by well-known Lower Mainland comics Sunee Dhaliwal and Hollywood Harv and presented by South Asian Arts, the show is planned as the first in an annual series of South Asian comedy nights. In many ways the show is a celebration and lampooning of Punjabi life in Surrey.

Gurpreet Sian, Executive Director of South Asian Arts, says the show is the first South Asian standup comedy show of its kind in Surrey.

“It’s 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.”

On his decision to work with Dhaliwal, Hollywood Harv and the show’s opening acts Sian says, “Most importantly they’re really funny . . . If you’re going to do a standup comedy show, it has to be funny.”

“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,” Harv.

Hollywood Harv has been doing comedy for six years. In the past, Harv has 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 five years ago to the day, and this is the first time he’s performed in Surrey since that first show. He says he plans to tailor his act on Saturday for a predominantly South Asian audience while keeping it accessible.

“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 says.

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 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.”

The show’s opening acts include Lower Mainland comic Cliff Prang and the show’s only female comic Ash Dhawan, both of whom have experience with other South Asian Arts productions and have worked with Sunee Dhaliwal and Hollywood Harv. The night is also emceed by Munish Sharma and includes music from DJ 151.

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 theater event Bollywood Wedding, as well as many other live theatre and dance performances. Tandoori Kings of Comedy marks the organization’s first purely standup comedy event.

“One of the mandates of [South Asian Arts] is to provide a platform for artists to showcase their talents,” says Sian.

The Tandoori Kings of Comedy Nov. 8 at the Bell Centre for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $20 and the show is for ages 18+ only. Tickets can be purchased at Bellperformingartscentre.com.

Correction: The article has been updated to reflect that the show is Nov.8, not Nov.7. The Runner regrets the error.