DUBAI: Paul Chowdhry — the first British Asian standup comedian to sell out London’s Wembley Arena — will perform his first show in the Kingdom as part of the comedy festival Riyadh Laughs, which began Nov. 23 and ends Dec. 2 in Boulevard Riyadh City.
Chowdhry will be performing his hit show, “Family Friendly Comedian,” in which he lays out the plan for his transition into a happy-go-lucky “guy next door” persona that will turn him into a national TV treasure to Muvi Cinemas on Dec 1.
“It’s a show that plays on topics that are considered family-friendly to some, but maybe not to others,” he says. “It’s a show about political correctness. I talk about my life, I talk about families, as well as the UK government and English people a lot. So, it’ll be interesting if we get a mix of British people and locals (in the audience), because we talk about both sides of it, as well as traditional upbringings in comparison to Western upbringings and all that.”
In August 2019, Chowdhry’s record-breaking stand-up show, “Live Innit,” was released as an Amazon Prime original special in 200 countries worldwide. The tour received two nationwide extensions, including five nights at Hammersmith Apollo and that sold-out show at the 10,000-seater Wembley Arena. His performance there was voted one of the venue’s top ten shows of 2017.
Apart from his current tour, Chowdhry is also excited about audiences soon getting to watch him in a Christmas episode of Sky’s “The Unofficial Science Of…” — a format in which comedians investigate the science behind the stunts of famous films. Alongside fellow comedian Chris Ramsey, Chowdhry will “reenact the stunts from ‘Die Hard’ and then the show goes to America to interview the cast of ‘Die Hard.’ This has never been done before. We’re going to be jumping off buildings and jumping through fire.”
Chowdhry, who is of Indian Sikh descent, is no stranger to the Middle East, having performed multiple times in the UAE. “I’ve always loved performing in the Middle East, because the crowds are always so great,” he said, adding that he was looking forward to his first show in Saudi Arabia.
Chowdhry, 49, said he grew up loving comedy, “but you never know you can do it until you stand in front of an audience.” He actually quit university in order to give stand-up a go.
“I’ve been addicted ever since,” he said. “From my first ever show, I immediately got a real buzz from it. It felt like I was flying.”
Chowhdhry credits his family with being supportive of his decision to give up on higher education to pursue his dream.
“They’ve supported me throughout my career so far. Some of my extended family may have had some issues, but that’s not really my concern,” he said. “You have to live your own life. As long as everything you do is legal, then follow your own dreams and live your own life — you’re not living somebody else’s.”