Indian comedian Kanan Gill set to make hilarious Australian debut
From software engineer to one of India’s most-loved superstars, stand-up comedian and YouTuber Kanan Gill makes his Australian debut in April 2019, headlining in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.
With nearly 700,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel and over 67 million views on his hilarious videos, Kanan is bringing his solo show Teetar down under, a show that juggles thoughts and ideas about everything from Julius Caesar’s death to bands and building societies.
We got the chance to hear from Kanan all about his comedy journey, and what he is most looking forward to during his time in Australia.
While you were working as a software engineer, you decided to compete in Punchline Bangalore. Why did you decide to compete and how did it feel to win?
I had just decided to start doing stand up and it was all I would think about at work. I didn’t think too much about competing in Punchline Bangalore, except just to see what would happen. Winning was a massive deal for me, it substantiated my belief in my ability. It was the first time I thought maybe I can really do this.
After another win, you decided to quit your job and pursue comedy as a career. Did your parents ever object to this decision?
I actually worked for almost another year after winning, but in the process I kept getting more and more gigs. So the decision to leave software wasn’t abrupt or grand but it was a slow simmer that reached a boil. I also didn’t leave to do stand up full time, that still didn’t seem viable.
I think the decision to quit my job was…to just not do my job! I thought I would quit and start looking for another job where I got to be more creative, but I never got around to looking. Somehow in the middle of everything I became a professional comedian.
My parents weren’t really against me doing comedy but Indian parents want nothing more than stability for their children. Over time I think they grew to accept it and are now are diehard fans. (When I quit I also may have lied that I was preparing for the Indian Administrative Services exam.)
You really gained popularity when you and Biswa Kaylan Rath started up Pretentious Movie Reviews on YouTube. What made you both decide to start this and did you ever expect it to reach the audience it did?
I think we both enjoyed lampooning old Bollywood movies. I used to do street interviews at the time which were just beginning to take off on YouTube. We decided to do movie reviews as fillers because they seemed fun. Their success took us completely by surprise and I think still does to a great degree.
You went from hilariously reviewing Bollywood to actually being in Bollywood. What was that experience like for you and can we expect any more movies featuring you as part of the cast? If not, is this something you would consider again in the future?
It was surreal enough to have success with movie reviews, but to be in a Bollywood movie after that seemed like the implausible plot…of a Bollywood movie.
The experience was phenomenal. I got to shoot with one of the biggest actors in Bollywood across two countries and even do a dance sequence -the whole thing. As for the future, I think I’m better at writing and directing than I am at acting.
How does it feel knowing your comedy has been able to reach not only the Indian diaspora, but also huge multicultural audiences around the world?
I think my last special did really well in many countries besides India. Suddenly I had people from different parts of the world, writing in to ask when I was touring where they lived!
I’m happy to play to any audience at all, but the opportunity to play to people with different cultures and life experiences is a an amazing one. It puts my material to the test as well and keeps me on my toes as a comic!
What is it about comedy that you love?
I think most of the joy is from writing a bit that you know is good. There’s also the thrill of having an idea that works or confessing a strange dark thought that you thought was unique to you, only to have it resonate with rooms full of people.
How are you feeling about your upcoming shows in Australia?
Excited. Nervous. Excited. In waves.
What can audiences expect to see from your show, Teetar?
Observations, situations, stupidity, a very small amount of emotion and even some mathematics.
What are you most looking forward to during your time down under?
I’ve listened to Australian podcasts for ages, so I have a mental image of the place formed from those, that I’d really like to come over and verify it!
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Fri 19 – Sun 21 Apr 2019 | Arts Centre Melbourne | 7pm (6pm Sun)
Perth Comedy Festival
Wed 24 April 2019 | Comedy Lounge Perth | 7.15pm
Sydney Comedy Festival
Fri 26 April 2019 | Factory Theatre Sydney | 9:15pm
Brisbane Headline Show
Sat 27 April 2019 | Sit Down Comedy Club Brisbane | 7.00pm
Purchase tickets HERE