Presently based in Goa, Ash Chandler is a stand-up comedian, actor, singer and songwriter. And the star was also a judge at the recent ‘Our Stage Our Talent’, a talent search competition in Goa organised by Big Daddy Entertainment.
Incidentally, his association with the competition happened by fluke after he happened to visit the casino one fine day and was asked to be a part of it. And Chandler enthusiastically agreed, stating that these kinds of events, give local talent a platform to showcase what they have to offer to the entertainment industry.
“I never participated in ‘America’s Got Talent’ because it wasn’t there when I was growing up. They did have this show called ‘Star Search’ but to participate in it one had to go to Los Angeles. Goa is a place where everybody comes and makes a name for themselves and winning a competition like this could increase one’s confidence. It can do wonders for you. It can change a life,” he says.
Known especially for his stand-up comedy, which he defines as the art of social commentary through satire, wit, mimicry all of which have a broad understanding, it was in the late 90s that Chandler first began doing shows in India.
The comedian had flown down to India from America to release a Hindi pop album for Magnasound. The owner of Magnasound, Sashi Gopal, was amused by the way Chandler worked the crowd. Chandler later returned to India and was asked to perform stand-up comedy at a jazz cafe called the Offbeat Cafe. “I didn’t realise that nobody had done this before. The who’s who of Mumbai was there, and then a news daily carried a story saying that I was India’s first English language stand up comedian,” he says. Chandler soon began getting shows in India. “People were aware on some level of what stand-up comedy was and they started calling me once they knew that stand-up comedy was available,” says Chandler.
Today however, says Chandler, people in India have started using the word stand-up comedy more often, but the industry still has a long way to go “In India, I find that stand-up comedy is still so nascent. Indians are used to making jokes about another culture, community etc, but today stand-up comedy is really trying to make people think, giving them a real perspective about life, what we’re experiencing everyday instead of making jokes about a community,” says Chandler, adding that real stand-up comedy is about what you’ve been through today and not what everybody is talking about or laughing about.
Having been a jazz singer for 31 years, Chandler has a jazz band in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Mumbai. Even though the band is based in jazz they perform all kinds of music. In addition to stand-up comedy and music, Chandler also acted in Bollywood movies such as ‘Guzaarish’, ‘Love, Wrinkle -Free’ and ‘Little John’. But he has no intention of taking his jazz music to Bollywood.
“Bollywood is a very specific industry that does what it does. But if somebody in Bollywood hears the kind of stuff I’m doing and they think this would make an interesting fit in their movie, then it makes sense,” says Chandler.
Chandler also recently presented at PechaKucha, Goa which took place at Saligao Institute, Saligao. PechaKucha is a 20×20 presentation where one uses 20 slides to make a presentation, with 20 seconds devoted to each slide.