COM­ING TO AMER­ICA

ROMESH RANGANATHAN takes his fam­ily to los an­ge­les to crack the amer­i­can com­edy scene

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Just An­other Im­mi­grant Wednesday, Sky One HD, 10pm

FOR STAND-UP COMIC Romesh Ranganathan, 2018 was a busy year, what with a BBC travelogue se­ries, new Sky One sit­com The Reluctant Landlord, his Judge Romesh show for Dave and be­com­ing a reg­u­lar pan­el­list on

Sky One’s A League of Their Own.

Some­how the 40-year-old has also man­aged to squeeze in a six-part doc­u­men­tary se­ries, Just An­other Im­mi­grant, which starts with a dou­ble bill this week and fol­lows Ranganathan as he trans­plants his fam­ily – wife Leesa and three chil­dren, plus his Sri Lankan mother and ec­cen­tric un­cle – from Craw­ley to Los An­ge­les in a bid to crack the US com­edy scene.

Be­sides set­tling him­self and his loved ones into a new lifestyle, he has just three months to sell out a gig at a famed out­door venue, the 6,000-seat Greek The­atre.

Here, the co­me­dian sets the scene for his state­side ad­ven­ture…

‘There were chal­lenges tak­ing my fam­ily, but we just de­cided to do it, warts and all…’ ROMESH Ranganathan

WHAT WAS THE IN­SPI­RA­TION FOR THIS SE­RIES?

It’s al­ways been my am­bi­tion to try my hand at com­edy in the States and it felt like the right time. I thought: ‘How do I do this? How do I tackle it in the States?’ It all started from those ques­tions.

ARE YOU A FAN OF US COM­EDY?

When I first started watch­ing stand-up, I fell in love with US com­edy be­fore Bri­tish com­edy. Richard Pryor is one of the main rea­sons I got into stand-up.

ARE AMER­I­CAN FANS AWARE OF BRI­TISH COM­EDY TALENT?

Amer­ica doesn’t re­ally know who the big Bri­tish comics are – or comics from else­where. But now that’s chang­ing. Peo­ple are putting stuff online, which has made ev­ery­thing more ac­ces­si­ble.

SO HAS IT GOT EAS­IER TO AT­TRACT AN AU­DI­ENCE IN COM­EDY THESE DAYS?

It’s eas­ier in terms of you get­ting your stuff online. The dif­fi­culty comes from the fact that peo­ple now have more choices. But if we’re watch­ing more com­edy and there’s more ac­cess to com­edy, that’s great.

WAS IT IM­POR­TANT FOR YOU TO SHOW THINGS GO­ING WRONG AS WELL AS RIGHT ON YOUR TRIP?

In Britain, we’re used to be­ing self-dep­re­cat­ing and em­bar­rass­ing our­selves. In the se­ries Asian Provo­ca­teur, where I went to Sri Lanka to con­nect with my roots, things went wrong and I’d get gen­uinely up­set – but those mo­ments made the se­ries bet­ter. Hope­fully it’s the same with this show.

HOW WAS IT UPROOTING THE WHOLE FAM­ILY FOR THIS VEN­TURE?

There were chal­lenges tak­ing my fam­ily over there, and the stress that it caused, but we just de­cided to do it, warts and all, and see what would hap­pen. It would have been a lot eas­ier if I’d been a sin­gle guy who was try­ing to do it.

YOU VISIT THE COM­EDY CLUBS IN LA. WHAT DIF­FER­ENCES STRUCK YOU BE­TWEEN THE US AND BRI­TISH STAND-UP CIRCUITS?

When Amer­i­cans in­tro­duce a co­me­dian, they give them a list of cred­its. I didn’t re­alise that was a thing. Bri­tish au­di­ences are so against things like that. If you start telling peo­ple: ‘You’ve seen him on this thing or that thing,’ a Bri­tish au­di­ence will think: ‘Who does he think he is?’

HOW DO THE LIVE AU­DI­ENCES DIF­FER?

There is a lot less heck­ling in the US. In all the gigs I’ve done in the States, I’ve never seen some­body have a dis­cus­sion with a drunken id­iot for nearly the en­tire show. But it hap­pens all the time in Britain.

STAND-UP COMIC ROMESH RANGANATHAN

ROMESH SHOWS OFF HIS COMIC SKILLS

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