First published on 21 Apr 2009. Updated on 6 May 2009.
In 2007 Danny Bhoy had some plans. He was going to stop this endless cycle of touring. He was going to base himself somewhere for a while - maybe buy a house, put down some roots, possibly even have a proper relationship. Of course now, in 2009, he's embarking on a three-month Australian tour, kicking off in the glamorous city of Mount Gambier, South Australia.
"The best laid plans, eh?" he laughs ruefully. "I guess it's an eternal odyssey, trying to settle down - that's the ultimate goal. It's ridiculous to try and put a time frame on it: 'no, this is it, this is the last one, then after than bang! House, kids, ranch in the country!' No, I'm back again."
His loss is our gain: Bhoy's always had a warm reception in our country, although that's not the case everywhere. At home in London, for instance, he enjoyed one of the most colourful shows of last year.
"I do shows there in small theatres in the centre of the town and fans come, but being in the centre of London you're going to get tourists and passers-by and people who don't really know what you're doing," he explains. "And I had a couple of girls come in and they wouldn't shut up – they were really pissed, falling off their seats, screaming, yelling, so I did my comedy schtick and put them down and whatnot, and they just wouldn't let up. So after about ten minutes of exhausting the possibility of getting them to shut up, the audience started to tell them to shut up, and when you get to that stage things get a bit gladiatorial.
So I started going 'look, why don't you leave, I'll give you your money back,' and then this guy offered them 50 quid to leave, and I was like 'look, you've got 50 quid plus your money back, you're gonna make a profit, you just have to leave now,' and they just refused," he sighs. "They were defiantly pissed, not even really with any intelligence, just like 'uhh, we've paid our ticket, we're gonna stay.' Eventually they had to be removed by security, and so they phoned a bomb threat into the theatre."
"Yeah, I don't know what they thought they were gonna achieve by doing that," he chuckles. "You know, you're down in the bar, you have two more Bacardi Breezers – 'oh, and pass my phone over, I must remember to phone a bomb threat through...'"
If London was disappointing, his first ever visit to India was a triumph (Bhoy has Indian blood). "I did three shows, which was probably the most amazing thing I've done. Because it wasn't expats – it was all Indian people, so I had to properly think about what would work in an environment with people who had never been to comedy in their lives who speak English but certainly don't have an English sensibility or sense of humour. I arrived at the airport and the promoters were driving me to the hotel and they started telling me 'look, there are certain things you can't talk about'..."
Presumably he was advised not to open with "So, what's with that caste system, am I right?"
"Oh yeah! Cows, women, absolutely everything I couldn't touch, so I was sitting in the back seat just crossing things out. And then it got to the end and they said 'Oh, and it's probably not a good idea to swear' and I was thinking 'Jesus Christ...' So I had to really go right to the back of the locker and find bits that I knew would work because they were physical or simple, and it ended up being really good. Except at the end of the show I came off stage and thought 'OK, I'll give it a minute, go on for the encore', went back on stage and they were all at the exits."
Ah. Not a great vote of confidence. "No, but the promoter told me afterwards that it doesn't matter how good you are in Mumbai, because it's the most congested city in the world, everyone wants to get to their car – if you stick around for the encore, it's an extra two hours on the trip home."
What's even more impressive is that the shows were a success despite Bhoy timing his visit to coincide with an actual bombing. "There's an underlying bomb threat with everything I do," he smirks. "There's always danger when Danny Bhoy's around."
Danny Bhoy appears at the Enmore Theatre for the Sydney Comedy Festival on Thu 30 April and Sat 2 May.