Romesh’s tale is packed with pathos and laughs
ROMESH Ranganathan is known for his deadpan humour so his talk at The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literary Festival was destined to sell out.
The Crawley comedian has achieved international fame with his Asian Provocateur shows visiting Sri Lanka and America, with his mum never too far out of the picture.
Actually it’s his mum, Shanthi, who has become the surprise breakout star with her devoted but despairing attitude towards her son.
She wasn’t at the festival when Romesh spoke about his autobiography, Straight Outta Crawley. When he sat down to write the book he intended it to be funny but it led to some home truths coming out.
Many of the 1500-strong audience were there to hear him talk about his life growing up south of Gatwick airport.
After joking about his career prior to becoming a comedian, the atmosphere sobered up when he became frank about the upheaval he and his family endured when he was young.
His father, Ranga, cheated on his mother and left her, forcing Romesh and his family into financial strife and their house becoming repossesed.
Some time later his family discovered Ranga had gone to prison for two years for fraud. Ranga’s absence led to a fractured relationship with Romesh and led to an argument when Romesh was at university.
But there was plenty of humour: as well as joking about some of the schools he taught at, he remembered his work at KFC, which conflicted with his veganism.
It forced him to eat a lot of corn on the cob, rather than the usual fried chicken offering in the restaurants.
But his dietary choice has also been expensive. He admitted to spending between £600 and £700 on vegan cheeses which he said were “unacceptable”.
“Why are working on diseases when we haven’t worked on vegan melting cheese? It’s a disgrace!”