|Picture: Rashbehari Das
There’s no pressure to being funny and a chatty Andrew, aka Andy Zaltzman, iterated the fact during his chitchat with t2. The “comedian, co-emperor of The Bugle podcast and purveyor of high-calibre disinformation since 1974”, later rehearsed with Kalkutta Komedians for their November 5 show.
How do you define yourself?
I don’t know. I have never really been asked this question before… I guess I’m a… comedian, cricket buff, father, husband, lover and idiot (laughs).
You are better known as a political comedian. What’s that?
A comedian who focuses primarily on social and political issues… though not specifically about politicians. The best political comedians would always rather talk about issues than the people involved. For India I’ve mixed cricket with political comedy. And because it wouldn’t make sense to parody British politics here, I chose to focus on the global economy. God, it sounds so serious! At times I throw in personal experiences, like the story about how my son was born on the bathroom floor because we couldn’t reach the hospital on time… and I ended up being the mid-wife.
The Political Animal and The Department were popular shows on BBC Radio4 till 2007. Now there is the podcast The Bugle, all with partner and co-host John Oliver…
They (the BBC shows) were mostly satirical takes and featured a number of other comedians as well. The Bugle is primarily based in New York. When Oliver moved to New York in 2007 the podcast was born to allow their partnership to continue. (Visit thebuglepodcast.com) It’s a weekly topical comedy podcast and it deals with world peace, centres a lot around America and Britain… we have a mix of political satire, nonsensical stuff, sports, made-up things.
You are fascinated about cricket.
When I was six years old I started watching cricket on television. My father wasn’t really a big fan, so I think I learnt to love it on my own. I also wanted to play the game but I was never really good at it.
India is a cricket-crazy nation.
Most of the comments that I get on my blog The Confectionary Stall (at espncricinfo.com) is from India. I have always had quite strong opinions about the game and occasionally people tend to disagree with me using quite colourful language!
The India-England match at Eden Gardens…
It’s intriguingly poised. England doesn’t have many players who have been performing very well and I think India needs a good start. I don’t want to see Sachin (Tendulkar) struggle. I saw him in 1990 when he came for his first tour of England and since then I have been watching him. So, I think everyone would like him to have a glorious end to his career but at the moment it is looking a little bleak.
What about Sourav Ganguly?
I always admired his fire and passion for the game and he made his first game against England so unrelenting… that’s what a lot of players can’t seem to do.
It’s said that stand-up comedians can be quite grumpy.
(Laughs loudly.) Well, well, some are funny all the time. Some are much funnier off stage than on and some are quite funny on stage rather than off.
Do you plan to explore Calcutta?
I’m going to be there at the Test match and write about it on my cricket blog.