Unlike many of his peers, Amit Tandon, with his ‘clean comedy’, entertains a generation older than millennials
Stand-up scenes, unlike television, are not subject to censorship (at least not yet). So swearing and dirty jokes are commonplace. Amit Tandon, however, never swears on stage. At least not anymore. He also refrains from making innuendos. While many of the viewers for the stand-up shows are millennials and young adults, Amit primarily entertains another “growing segment” – people between the ages of 35 and 65 – which he calls the “arthritis audience”.
“People who go to shows of other comedians, their parents come to my shows,” jokes Amit, who has performed over 200 shows and has toured cities in India and abroad; he also released a Netflix special, Family tandoncies.
Amit started playing in his mid-30s. “I used to tell stories of my experiences. Much of my comedy was about the challenges of having two kids at home. Or, the aging of my marriage. These things were related to people in that age range of 30 to 35 and over, ”he says, adding,“ For the first two or three years when I was doing open mics, I used words. swearing. I was 36 or 37 when I started acting. And I lived in a common family with children. So at home I was controlling my tongue in front of my kids and my parents. Even when I was going on stage, I wasn’t comfortable using a bad word if I saw a child or someone in my father’s age group. That’s why I decided to do some clean comedy.
However, its audience is not a minority because of this choice. “When stand-up comedy started in India around 2010 there was a certain audience for it. Now, however, there is no standard audience; it varies between performers. For example, Kanan (Gill) or Kenny (Sebastian) end up doing many university exhibitions. I am not receiving any reservations for them. On the other hand, I do a lot of corporate shows because they want someone who relates to that age group and does clean comedy, ”he explains.
Amit’s comedy is a narration of his actual experiences or the stories he makes to share his opinions. “For example, if I go to a bank to deposit a check and they try to sell a mutual fund plan, I talk about it. On other occasions I want to share an opinion – like, in my Netflix special, I talk about how people lose their identity when they become parents. Even parents often turn to mom and dad. His comedy is also family-centered. “This happens because a lot of my challenges are related to my home. You usually write about things that are relevant to you. In my case, I have two children. So whenever I’m away from work all I do is figure out how to help them with their homework, what careers they would choose, where to take them shopping, ”he says.
He used to discuss politics on occasion, but now avoids the subject. “He’s become so polarized. I am neither a left winger nor a right winger. If you say anything, you have to be on either side, which I am not. And people generally have strong opinions. So I don’t think it’s worth discussing politics, ”he adds.
Since 2019 has been a busy year for Amit – he has performed over 50 shows in 33 US cities in addition to shows in India; there was also the Netflix special – he hailed the pandemic-induced hiatus in 2020. “After a month and a half, however, I couldn’t wait to be back on stage.” He now has a live show scheduled for April. “I’m all excited. It’s like coming home for a vacation,” he adds.
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