Abish Mathew doesn’t want to ruffle feathers, but he gives no guarantees
He used to be that kid in class who had a witty response for everything and wouldn’t stop talking once he got up on stage. Comedy was such a great fit for Abish Mathew that when he got introduced to stand-up, while working as an RJ with Hit95 FM in Delhi a few years ago, he never looked back. “As a comic, I’m always searching for new jokes, new styles and new comedic voices. I weave in observational comedy, situations from my life and, of course, a lot about my upbringing, about being a Malayali,” says Mathew.
Recently, some banter about Malayali men had got him in hot water during a show at a Delhi college, with some students calling him sexist. But the comedian, who is debuting in the city this weekend, at Kings of Comedy—sharing the stage with Kanan Gill and Kenneth Sebastian—shrugs it off as pitfalls of the game. In fact, he isn’t worried about the ‘conservative’ Chennai audience; he believes they will get him. “You can expect some of my new material and my best-received jokes,” says Mathew, whose dream is to be on the cast of Saturday Night Live. “I love to do characters, and keeping SNL in mind I have been working hard on acting and improv comedy. I am also polishing up my sketch writing skills,” he admits.
Inspired by comics like Robin Williams, Jonathan Winters, Louis CK and Bill Burr (though “my favourites keep changing, just like clothes”), he jests that his best ideas come “during my morning business or in the middle the night”. But, on a serious note, he admits comedy is a full time profession. “I am always observing new things, trying to see how it might get someone to crack up,” he concludes.
Tomorrow, at the Courtyard, Phoenix MarketCity, at 7 pm. Details: 30083008
—Surya Praphulla Kumar