SURREY – For someone who’s been pretty successful in the Canadian comedy scene, Sunee Dhaliwal says he’s not exactly an overachiever. In fact, the now-famous jokester got his career start while working at Staples ("not to brag," he says) when a co-worker challenged him to perform at an amateur comedy night. The only reason he agreed, according to Dhaliwal, was knowing he wouldn’t be the worst comic the room.
"My manager said, ‘Oh, you should be a comedian’ and I always just said, ‘Nah, I’m not gonna do it’ just because I never thought it would happen," he told the Now.
"Then she emailed a local comedy club in Vancouver and she asked me, and said ‘OK, you have a spot.’ Then I was like, ‘Oh no, I’m not going to do it. It’s not going to happen,’ and then she said ‘I’ll do it, too’ and I was like, ‘Oh! Well, I’m funnier than you!’ And that was just my only reason I was hesitant, I didn’t want to be the worst on the show."
Dhaliwal said he got a huge response then, back in 2007, and was invited back to the venue to perform more shows. The rest is history.
Now, he’s headlining the one-time Tandoori Kings of Comedy show at Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre on Nov. 8 alongside "Hollywood Harv." Other entertainers for the evening include MC Munish Sharma (I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Chicken!), Clifford Prang and Ash Dhawan.
The show, organized through the South Asian Arts Society, is a nod to South Asian artists who are working toward success.
"They (the SAAS) came to me with that concept and I said, ‘That’s great! Let’s just not call it something stupid like Tandoori Kings of Comedy,’ but they didn’t listen," Dhaliwal joked.
"Jerry Seinfeld and Louis CK are not doing the Kraft Dinner kings of comedy tour," Dhaliwal said in jest. "They’re just white guys and they’re good… I will not do one tandoori joke," he promised.
What those buying a ticket to the Tandoori Kings can expect, however, is a "louder version" of Dhaliwal on the stage.
"Other people have characters that they play or are completely different onstage than they are offstage. I am one and the same," he said, noting that all of his skits come from real-life experiences.
One anecdote the comedian is sure to share at the Nov. 8 show is from his recent trip to Yellowknife – but we won’t spoil it for you.
The Tandoori Kings of Comedy hit the stage at the Bell Performing Arts Centre on Saturday Nov. 8. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are available for $20 at Bellperformingartscentre.com or Kamal’s Video Palace (#103 8268 120th St., Surrey), or at the door for $25.