ED2013 Columns ED2013 Comedy

Romesh Ranganathan: Rom Com and Rom Com Doms

By | Published on Monday 1 July 2013


Romesh Ranganathan may be a relative newcomer to Edinburgh – this is his first full solo show – but he’s already made a big splash with his set at the Leicester Comedy Festival, picking up The Leicester Mercury Comedian Of The Year gong in 2013. Not that that makes focusing on writing his Edinburgh show any easier…

I’m taking my show ‘Rom Com’ to Edinburgh this year. Though I am currently fighting that nagging suspicion that I have no qualities that will make me stand out from the raft of excellent comedians who will also be taking their brilliant bloody shows to the Festival this summer.

And that as a result, I’ll return from the Festival in late August, and my wife will look at me and say  “Did you get your big break?”, and I will have to explain to her that it’s not about success, it’s more about growing as an artist and developing as a comedian who brings the unfiltered truth to the eight people who came to watch the show.

This will then lead to resentment from her towards my vanity project of a career, which will undoubtedly lead to a separation, and eventually I will be seeing my children at weekends only. When you go through a thought process like that, you’re not exactly in the right frame of mind to decide whether your story about Coco Pops is funny or not.

What I have discovered in putting this hour together is that procrastination seems to be the worst enemy. Indeed the only reason I agreed to write this piece  for ThreeWeeks was to give me a break from working on my bit about monkeys. And before writing this, I was embroiled in a Facebook argument about Pixar films.

It can be difficult to focus when you have friends who genuinely believe that ‘Toy Story 3’ is better than ‘Up’, and that the talking dogs were not an excellent comic device. Let’s ignore the fact that ‘Toy Story 3’s excellent ending masks a muddied main narrative and a tendency to throw too many characters into the mix in order to impress with spectacle. Needless to say, I have decided not to talk to those morons any more.

It’s about this time that desperation begins to kick in. And I know most comedians like to talk about the other shows they are looking forward to seeing, adding that they are happy to see the comics they like doing really well. But I don’t want that. I want every single other comic to fail miserably, so that only my show garners any positive response. I’m then nominated for every award, leading to a renaming of the entire festival to ‘The Romburgh Fringe’. And then, finally, my wife can look me in the eyes without the usual contempt that she throws my way for mortgaging our future on this ridiculous pipe dream. WHY CAN’T SHE JUST BELIEVE IN ME? I am joking of course*.

Another way of not writing the show is to instead think about how to market yourself once you’re in Edinburgh. You need an edge, a gimmick, something that will make you stand out. It is for this reason that I have just spent ten grand on contraception in a marketing campaign that I call ‘Rom Com Doms’.

These are condoms that have what looks like a black circle near the tip. It is only upon putting them on, that the image stretches to show that it is actually my face that has been emblazoned onto the shaft. They also glow in the dark. What better way of promoting my show than you being reminded of me during coitus? What I am hoping is that this will be so successful that, in a Pavlovian way, audience members will think of me and my comedy and immediately become aroused.

Actually, the truth is that I’m quite enjoying putting this show together. The previews have been fun, and I think the show is good enough to garner me the coveted ‘Best Show By A Comedian Of Sri-Lankan Origin With A Lazy Eye Award’. Although there is a lot of buzz around Droopy Ranasinghe.

See you at the festival.

*My wife read this and made me put in this disclaimer – fact is, her support is inconsistent at best.

‘Romesh Ranganathan – Rom Com’ was performed at Underbelly at Edinburgh Festival 2007.

LINKS: www.romeshranganathan.co.uk