ROMESH RANGANATHAN

Jack Dee’s Helpdesk: Soho Theatre, London, 2014
Always Be Comedy: The Tommyfield pub, Kennington, London, 2016
Always Be Comedy: The Tommyfield pub, Kennington, London, 2017
Always Be Comedy (3 shows): The Tommyfield pub, Kennington, London, 2018
Always Be Comedy (3 shows): The Tommyfield pub, Kennington, London, 2019
Always Be Comedy: The Tommyfield pub, Kennington, London, 2020
Always Be Comedy Online Bonus Shows: Online: 2020
Always Be Comedy Online (2 shows): Online: 2020
Always Be Comedy (2 shows): The Tommyfield pub, Kennington, London: 2020
An Evening with Romesh Ranganathan – Always Be Comedy Online: Online 2020
Just The Tonic Working From Home – Good Riddance 2020 New Years Eve Special: Online: 2020
Always Be Comedy Online: Bonus Shows: Online: 2021
Always Be Comedy Online in aid of The Lily Foundation: Online: 2021
Always Be Comedy: (2 shows) The Tommyfield pub, Kennington, London, 2021 

Romesh Ranganathan has quickly become one of the UK’s most popular comedians.  I first saw him live on stage as a guest on Jack Dee’s Helpdesk in 2014 and appear twice at Always Be Comedy in 2016 and 2017.  Ranganathan described a situation in a tedious, exasperated but casual tone to bring out big laughs from the audience.  If something irritated him, he would rant at the crowd to highlight a point, but strong jokes usually hit the mark when he talked at normal volume.  He broke into a very infectious laugh at times and his steady delivery of his views, as if they were actualities, was infectious, and there was a genuine warmness to his sets.  Each time I saw him perform in the small Always Be Comedy club; his set was stronger, delivered with more confidence and was extremely funny.

I watched Ranganathan performed a work-in-progress show at Always Be Comedy in February 2018.  Part of his on-stage charm is a carefully balanced insufferable and yet endearing comic image. On stage, he portrays himself as an irritable recluse, not keen to interact with anyone. I have noticed that there currently seems to be lots of different comedians talking about uncomfortable ordinary life encounters at the first opportunity turning them into a big deal But Ranganathan strikes a balance realising he’s being anti-social yet describing with an awkward truth the subsequent outcome from such encounters.  It works brilliantly as a comedy act.

I had laughed a lot at the former teacher’s recent travel TV show: The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan and was looking forward to seeing him again at Always Be Comedy when I was celebrating my imminent birthday in July 2018. With his subdued approach and wit Ranganathan again reliably provoked big laughs from the audience.  He had a brilliant warped take on life and at the shows I saw he was confident, self-assured and the set which included topics on the state of his health, parenting, pets and celebrity was ferociously funny.

Ranganathan appeared several times at Always Be Comedy performing work in progress in December 2018, March, twice in May 2019 and again in January 2020 for his tour.  Again, he was very self-referential and self-depreciating, his fluid, chatty style contradicted with his skilfully crafted comedy. Asking the audience for any questions after a rant is a particularly funny device.  I cried with laughter at the great comedian and gave well deserved standing ovations for the performances

Ranganathan appeared for a number of special Always Be Comedy Online bonus shows during the worldwide lockdown in May 2020.  Like everyone else during the virus outbreak, the comedian was at home.  He was set up in his garage, where he delivered new material, which was hilarious.  He also appeared as a special mystery guest.  What was impressive was his range and delivery – there is something new to hear every time he ambled through the material.  The comedian appeared twice at Always Be Comedy in September and October 2020 for a live socially distanced show. Talking about his experiences of being a parent as well as mocking topical new stories, again he was hysterical and a pleasure to watch.

In November 2020, James Gill interviewed Ranganathan for An Evening with Romesh Ranganathan – Always Be Comedy Online.  Ranganathan has become a successful author; his first book Straight Outta Crawley: Memoirs of A Distinctly Average Human Being, released in 2018, was a best seller and described his upbringing and career from teacher to comedian.  The second book As Good As It Gets: Life Lessons from a Reluctant Adult describing family life, fatherhood and further career highlights was the focus of the evening and it was great to hear insights, hysterical funny stories and excepts from his new book.

On New Year’s Eve 2020, Ranganathan appeared at Just The Tonic Working From Home – Good Riddance 2020 New Year’s Eve Special chatting to compere Darrell Martin reflecting on the terrible year with wit and humour.

In February 2021, Ranganathan again appeared for a number of special Always Be Comedy Online bonus shows during the third worldwide lockdown.  He also was a guest at Always Be Comedy Online in aid of the Lily Foundation.  The Lily Foundation helps to improves the lives of people with mitochondrial disease.

Ranganathan made a triumphant return to live stand-up comedy when he played two shows Always Be Comedy live in June 2021.  He was brilliant at delivering new material, which included looking forward to a new family dog and talking about his children.  As ever, he really caught the audience’s imagination relating to the material.  I am very happy to watch his act repeatedly and always find something new to laugh at.

It has been wonderful to see Ranganathan progress on his comedy journey over the years and long may it continue.  He is a master of the craft, a joy to watch and one the greatest stand-up comedians ever.

 

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