The Magners International Comedy Festival welcomes the golden comedy of Imran Yusuf…
Hello Imran, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Hiya, I am from Earth, I am still on Earth and as I write this I am at home on a sunny afternoon in London, United Kingdom on the precipice of leaving the European Union because we will not prosper until we have blue Passports.
When did you first realise you were funny?
Anytime as a kid when I acted up to impress others and made them laugh. As a teen, I was the consummate piss-taker, it was a way to be strong in some social situations and create enjoyable company. Making others laugh is fun and gains one respect, but only if it is done as a natural consequence of who you are. You can’t run around telling people jokes like a weirdo. You have to get them to come to a club so you can stand on stage and do it from there like a professional weirdo.
How did you get into stand-up?
When I saw The Comedy Store TV show in the 90s, I knew I had to become a stand up but didn’t know how. Eventually, I got on the circuit and did open spots. However, the seed had been planted much earlier in my youth, probably from Benny Hill and the comedy of the 80s and 90s and most recently I have remembered that I once wanted to be like Jasper Carrott.
If your style was a soup, what would be the ingredients?
Spices, vegetables and a bit of meat (not pork). You would leave feeling satiated and pleasantly surprised.
Which comedian has made you laugh the hardest?
I once lost the ability to breathe whilst watching Sean Lock live when he recorded Live at The Apollo in 2007 or 2008. I was sitting near the front and one of his gags was so good, I thought I was going to die because I couldn’t draw a breath. It was such a good gag that I studied it and broke it down to understand why it was so good. Then I told a friend the joke, and then he couldn’t breathe either. I think my background in video games testing helps me understand the genius construction behind really good joke telling.
You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three films, what would they be?
Jaws, Armour of God and Star Wars: Return of The Jedi.
Can you tell us about the comedy scene in India?
Yes I can. It’s great, the comics are evolving at a rapid pace and there is an excitement around the scene that will really put India on the map as a great source of comedy for the future. There is an incredible history there, India has endured a lot and Indian people today thrive everywhere under any circumstances. India has an abundance of wealth to transmute into comedy.
You’re quite the internationalist – can you tell us briefly about your travels?
Thanks to comedy, I have got to travel a lot. When I do, I do my best to learn about the countries I visit and absorb their history, culture and customs. Travelling is such a great way to enrich your life and meet the beautiful diverse array of people and stories of the world, essentially travelling itself feels like a divine endeavour. Or like discovering the entire map of the video game you are otherwise restricted through by the responsibility of work and citizenship.
Do you find all that travel a good source of material?
Yes, but not just because of the travel but because of the life experiences you have. Your material is only ever going to be as a good as your experience and discipline towards learning and writing everyday.
You’re performing at this year’s MAGNERS INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL; can you tell us where & when?
I’ll be performing at the Cask & Banger in Singapore.
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell your show to somebody in the street…
My show is for people who like to both think and laugh. If you like your comedy evolved, then you’ll enjoy my show because I am really, really good at what I do and I love sharing my ideas because we can make the world a better place by laughing at how stupid we can all be.
What will Imran Yusuf be doing for the rest of 2019?
Working on my next solo show and touring in both the spring and then again in late autumn.