Australia’s most ‘Easterly Indian’, the well-travelled Byron Bay stand-up comic Sandy Gandhi, has launched her first book, Enlighten Up. She took time out from her busy schedule for a quick chat with Far North Coaster …
Can you give a brief rundown of your life?
Born in New Delhi, India, came to Australia (Melbourne) at the age of 12, worked as travel agent/tour operator for 20 years, worked in Melbourne and Sydney in Oz as well as PNG, the UK, Holland, the USA, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar.
How did you become a comic?
My friend Mandy Nolan said I was funny and should do her ACE (Adult Community Education) stand-up comedy course — she’s bigger than me so I didn’t argue!
Can you remember your first performance, and how you felt before and after it?
When my name was announced, I needed to have a poo. Needless to say, I was extremely uncomfortable and could have used some comic relief myself! But fortunately, all went well, the audience were fabulous and when I came off stage, I was like a human vibrator!
Has anyone in particular influenced your career?
No, not really, but many have inspired it — Groucho and the brothers Marx, Jerry Lewis, Peter Sellers and Dame Edna, to name a few.
Do you get nervous before a gig, and if so, how do overcome that?
I get extremely nervous, both physically and emotionally, but once I’m out there and I get a laugh, it settles me somewhat. I imagine the audience is in my Sandy Gandhi living room.
What’s the biggest audience you’ve performed in front of?
What’s the smallest audience you’ve performed in front of?
Do you have a favourite comic?
You’ve just written a book. What’s it called, what’s it about?
Enlighten Up … it’s a literary titterary! A compilation of my weekly column, Enlighten Up (that appears on Thursdays in Pulse, the arts and entertainment section of The Northern Star), and other nonsense, including some funny photos.
Will people’s lives be enriched by reading your book, or are you just out to make a literary buck?
Sure they will, it’s authentic comic relief and it’s not called Enlighten Up for nothing! And of course, I’d like to make a literary buck — feel free to buy a few copies, that way my bank manager won’t think that my best joke is my bank account!
You’re obviously very good at making people laugh. What makes you laugh?
Animals and birds!
On the flip side, what really pisses you off?
Finally, do you have an all-time favourite joke?
Yes, my own post-9/11 joke: “Have you heard? America has changed its national emblem — it’s no longer the bald eagle, it’s the sitting duck!”
Read more about Sandhy and the book.