Kenny comes knocking

Kenny Sebastian

And he promises to bring bizarre and bite to the banal

He’s just turned 27, but don’t worry he’s going to tell you all about it when he comes down to The Factory Theatre later this month. Indian stand-up comic Kenny Sebastian, yes, of the Chai Time Comedy fame, will be in Sydney on 24 November.

With more than 622K subscribers on YouTube, Kenny, is often hailed as among the best in the Indian comedy scene.

Kenny was born into a Malayali family on the new year’s eve of 1990. As his father was an Indian Navy personnel, he moved around the country quite frequently, eventually settling in Bangalore. He has a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts.

He speaks to The Indian Sun about his upcoming tour…

★ Tell us about your set in Australia. What can we look forward to this time?

I am coming with my brand new one hour special. It’s called “the most interesting person in the room” and it has observations from the last year which have really been drastic. I have also added some exceptionally bizarre bits that are quite different from my usual style.

★ Are you doing any new material?

The whole set is new. I always make sure whenever a live audience sees me they always see brand new material.

★ Comedy around politics is a taboo for you. However, it’s election time in India. Would you still stay away from it?

I am not associated as a political comedian anyway, even if did throw in my thoughts on it, it would be a drag for the audience. My main goal is the show to be funny and entertaining throughout. I am also not a topical comedian, my observations tend not to have a time limit on them.

Kenny Sebastian (c) with Kannan Gill (r) and Biswa Kalyan Rath (l)
★ Comedy is a very local in many ways and is understood purely in a cultural context. How are Australian comedians taken in India? And Indian comedians in Australia?

That is definitely true. British comedians seem to be too dry for American audiences while Americans comedians seem too loud for the British audiences. I feel the comedians that have at least 30-40% of their content being universal do well in any stage. Sometimes the audience wants to hear about culture specific stories and sometimes they tune off. A clever comedian knows how to work a room and that comes from experience and not which country they are from.

★ Russell Peters has transcended boundaries and has reached out most communities in a global city. What do you think was the main reason for this?

He is very focused on having a wide audience. Hence his content seldom sticks to one culture or opinion. I feel he goes for content that is universal (since he is from such a diverse ethnic background anyway). I feel it is no accident he became a global sensation. He very consciously wrote a comedy routine that catered to many.

Kenny Sebastian
★ Tell us about the comedy scene in India? Why has there been a sudden surge in comedians?

It has exploded and is only growing. The surge is because of mainly two reasons—the traditional media being stagnant for so long and two the internet giving free reign to new forms of entertainment.

When films and TV shows are no longer relevant to its audiences, stand-up comedy on the internet is so honest, brutal and real that it really resonates with the audiences in India. Also, buying power for entertainment has increased.

★ Could you share your thoughts on Amazon and Netflix and how these platform are changing the face of Indian entertainment.

They have been instrumental in making stand-up comedy cement itself as a legit category for entertainment in India. YouTube made stand-up easily accessible for everyone in their homes while Amazon added a sense of quality and production quality to it that put it at par with traditional media.


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