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Funny man Omid Singh talks comedy and the secret of a great show


American stand-up comedian Omid Singh has been making British audiences laugh at events across the UK and will do the same at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival with his one-man show, Beginning To End.

Born to an Iranian mother and Indian father, the boundary-breaking funny man will also be a part of the big Indians Are Coming UK tour later this year organised by Desi Central.

Eastern Eye caught up with the Los Angeles-based comedian, who is currently making a name for himself on the UK live circuit to have a quick catch up to talk about all things comedy.

What first connected you to comedy?
My sister. She was an improviser in high school and it looked like fun, so thought I would give it a go and here I am trying to make people laugh for a living.

Do you remember your first stand-up gig?
Every stand-up comedian will remember their first gig and mine was as a 16 year old at my high school, so I started young. I remember stealing a lot of bits from Eddie Izzard (sorry, Eddie) and had an original closer that brought the house down. (Laughs) I know you probably wanted a story where I died on stage, but it was pretty good.

Tell us, what has been your most memorable moment as a comedian?
I have been lucky enough to have a number of memorable moments, so it is difficult to choose just one. But performing for Paul McCartney was pretty amazing. Just seeing him at the venue in the audience laughing at my jokes was a really great feeling.

What is the secret of a great comedy set?
If I had to describe it in one word, then, it would be patience. You need to have patience and then everything will hopefully fall into place, unless you have really bad material (then nothing can save you).

When do you know if a joke will work, on paper or when you are on stage?
Definitely, when you are on stage. I write a lot of what I think are ‘funny things’ on paper that never work on stage.

How much of your set is planned beforehand? 
Unless you are someone like the late great genius Robin Williams, 99.9 per cent is planned beforehand. Of course, there will be things that will happen in the moment.

Who is your comedy hero?
Robin Williams will always be my hero because he was just limitless.

Are you under pressure to be funny in real life?
Nope, no one even knows I’m a comedian.

Okay, so has being funny helped you in everyday life?
Sure, it can help diffuse tension.

What about with the ladies?
(Laughs) I’m swimming in them, can’t you see?

What is the best professional advice you ever got?
Keep pacing on stage. It helps you think and also saves on gym membership.

Why do you love comedy?
Because comedy has given me a life I love.

Omid Singh: Beginning To End is on at Gilded Balloon, Old Tollbooth Market, Edinburgh, every day at 9 pm from July 31-August 26. Visit Twitter: @omid_singh & www.omidsingh.com