Member of sketch comedy group, Dead Kevin, and cast member of the upcoming Cartoon Network hit, “Dream Corp, LLC,” Ahmed Bharoocha is one of the hardest working comedians in the business.
The Badger Herald was able to chat with Bharoocha just days before his debut album release for “Almond Badoody” and subsequent half hour special that will premiere on Comedy Central.
The Badger Herald:You grew up in a half Irish Catholic, half Pakistani Muslim home. How did this type of unique upbringing lead you to pursue a career in comedy?
Ahmed Bharoocha: My Irish Catholic side has always loved humor, it’s the way that they define their culture. My Pakistani side, my dad specifically, is very corny and always joking around. Beyond that, growing up with two parents from very different backgrounds helped open my eyes to the world. It helped me start to see things through a different light.
BH: Your career began on the east coast, specifically in Rhode Island and Boston, and now you are based in LA. What have you noticed about east coast stand up compared to west coast?
AB: I would say east coast stand up has a bit more gruffness and toughness. Every comedy scene is different, but I think New York and LA are more similar than New York and Boston, for example. In smaller cities the entertainment industry isn’t there so there is more freedom and silliness. New York and LA are more business oriented, so everyone is working toward a TV credit or a writing job.
The comics in New York tend to have a more commanding stage presence, whereas LA stand up is more about who your character is. It is also very politically charged and really hip.
BH: You and your older sister, Maureen, traveled to Pakistan to film what would become the critically acclaimed film, Abajee. What did this experience mean to you and your sister, especially since you grew up making videos together?
AB: It was so amazing to be able to travel to where my dad is from. Abajee was my sister’s college thesis. It was just us and we had a really small crew. Yeah we made videos when we were kids, but now we had a budget and real actors, which was unreal. I absolutely loved learning about a different culture as well.
BH: Your debut album “Almond Badoody” comes out this Friday along with a half hour special on Comedy Central. What can you tell readers about the album and the type of comedy it features?
AB: I’m pretty lighthearted on stage, definitely not too aggressive. I talk a lot about my background, politics, religion, my family, animals and food. Even with politics, though, it’s not too pointed at one side; I keep it fun and silly. I recorded the album at the Comedy Club on State and I can honestly say that it was one of the best comedy clubs I’ve ever been to.
BH: Madison is a breeding ground for young comics who are just starting out. What advice do you have for them?
AB: Definitely above all else, enjoy what you do and make sure you’re having fun. Work hard, hit the open mic every week, get up on stage as often as anyone will let you and book shows. Do it as much as you can.