I began running Live International Comedy Shows in Mumbai, Pune and Goa part time…while working as TV consultant primarily because the night life scene in Mumbai in 2008-2009 was boring.
It was just bars and clubs. There was zero live comedy, so I decided to bring over the world’s first white stand-up comedian to ever perform in India (to be fair there were no Indian stand-ups – so it might have been the very first live stand up comedy gig ever in India (here’s an article about the first show I produced)
The 3-night gig sold out (approx. 3000 seats), and was such a roaring success I decided to do live international gigs monthly. Including Gordon Southern, Al Pitcher & Alan Bates (A show I managed to convince UTV to sponsor)
Inspired by the success of my shows, a friend of Adam Dow decided to set up India’s first ever Improv Troupe. Adam asked my for help with marketing and finding a venue for shows, both of which I was happy to do and his company is still going strong today.
I was too tight to hire an MC for the show…also there was literally no local stand up comedy talent at that point – so I would introduce the acts.
I’m pretty sure any laughs I got where by luck not design, and a talent scout for American Tourist luggage decided to make me the star of this big budget TVC (it literally involved a cast of hundreds and they shut down the entire platform of Victoria Station for The day).
A good friend of mine that ran the legendary Zenzi bar decided I was exactly the right person to run his brand new Quiz night.
Unfortunately, he also thought it was a good idea for us both to get incredibly drunk and insult the players. I think it lasted about 3 editions…
The Comedy Store London suddenly appears in Mumbai
Shortly after I started running my own shows, The Comedy Store London had the same idea as me, but they went one step further and opened an actual venue.
By that point I’d been in India long enough and dealing with Indian bureaucracy to know that it was a bad idea to invest heavily into India. As soon as it opened, I predicted it was doomed to fail. I was right. The opening was constantly delayed and when it did open, it soon collapsed under the weight of a lawsuit.
The funny thing is (although not so funny for Don Ward who I’m guessing lost millions on the venture), I predicted all this from the moment I heard it would open.
Unfortunately, all the assurances from Charlotte Ward made in this article that the CS would keep running, after the lawsuit began never came true, (aside from the fact the CS hobbled along for a few more year with infrequent shows at Blue Frog in Mumbai only), and the CS eventually just fizzled out. It appears the last show it did was back in July 2017 (according to it’s ghost-ship website)
If Don had asked me for advice (on the basis I’d been running shows in India for a while so I knew quite a bit about the business situation) I would’ve have told him exactly what an excruciating nightmare he was in for. But I heard through the comedy grapevine he resented the fact I “stole his thunder” by starting stand-up shows before him and thought he knew better. I guess the saying “pride comes before a fall” exists for a reason.
Anyway, after my contract with UTV/Bindass ran out, I decamped back to Singapore, where my comedy adventure continued and I create the worlds most offensive open mic comedy show again out of boredom. [BLOG POST – The Story of Fight Comic Singapore]
*To clarify, the comedy explosion probably would’ve happened without me… the time was right (as shown by the Comedy Store following me into the market), but it feels good to be predict the future and be ahead of the trend…
∙ Authored by Quilliam Potter
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