From the batch of 2018-19 comedy specials that released online, Azeem Banatwalla’s Problems came out strongest, marking him out as a formidable writer and performer; one who has now comfortably staked his claim as one of the country’s finest comedians.
Banatwalla is now gearing up for his next big tour with a brand new hour, Between The Lines. He’ll be taking it across India and internationally, with no pressure of a deadline to record the special for a streaming platform just yet. Before he hits the road, here are 10 rapid-fire questions with him to catch you up on what to expect.
Quick! What’s this show about?
It’s about right-wing fundamentalists, liberal social justice warriors and freedom of speech.
How many shows are you doing, across how many cities?
At the moment 20, but hoping to add 10 more. Over three months, maybe more.
How long has it taken you to come up with Between the Lines?
Around nine months.
Is this for Amazon Prime Video again?
No online plans as of yet. Want to enjoy touring it live, and then we’ll see. The last few specials were commissioned and then toured, which isn’t the right way to do it. This time, it’s the opposite.
Why should we watch it live?
Because it may never go online.
Is it “woke”?
Come and decide for yourself… *mysterious face*
Problems was a smashing one-hour special, one of the finest we’ve seen this year. Are you feeling any pressure of previous success with the new hour?
This one’s better 🙂
(Stop it.) Is this damn thing gonna have more Modi jokes?
Yes, but not in the way you’d imagine it.
Who would make the ideal +1 to bring for a show of Between The Lines?
Your ultra-woke friend, for them to watch in horror.
When you tour internationally, do you tweak your material since some of the cultural references/ news are hyper-local?
This is a more international show than anything I’ve written before. About 70% of the material is worldwide tour-ready.
Banatwalla hits the road 17 December to 24 January. Get your tickets here.