SURREY â€” For someone whoâ€™s been pretty successful in the Canadian comedy scene, Sunee Dhaliwal says heâ€™s not exactly an overachiever.
In fact, the now-famous jokester got his career start while working at Staples (â€œnot to brag,â€ 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 wouldnâ€™t be the worst comic the room.
â€œMy manager said, â€˜Oh, you should be a comedianâ€™ and I always just said, â€˜Nah, Iâ€™m not gonna do itâ€™ just because I never thought it would happen,â€ he told the Now.
â€œThen she emailed a local comedy club in Vancouver and she asked me, and said â€˜OK, you have a spot.â€™ Then I was like, â€˜Oh no, Iâ€™m not going to do it. Itâ€™s not going to happen,â€™ and then she said â€˜Iâ€™ll do it, tooâ€™ and I was like, â€˜Oh! Well, Iâ€™m funnier than you!â€™ And that was just my only reason I was hesitant, I didnâ€™t want to be the worst on the show.â€
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, heâ€™s headlining the one-time Tandoori Kings of Comedy show at Surreyâ€™s Bell Performing Arts Centre on Nov. 8 alongside â€œHollywood Harvâ€. Other entertainers for the evening include MC Munish Sharma (I Canâ€™t Believe Itâ€™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 towards success.
â€œThey (the SAAS) came to me with that concept and I said, â€˜Thatâ€™s great! Letâ€™s just not call it something stupid like Tandoori Kings of Comedy, but they didnâ€™t listen,â€ Dhaliwal joked.
â€œJerry Seinfeld and Louis CK are not doing the Kraft Dinner kings of comedy tour,â€ Dhaliwal said in jest. â€œTheyâ€™re just white guys and theyâ€™re goodâ€¦ I will not do one tandoori joke,â€ he promised.
What those buying a ticket to the Tandoori Kings can expect, however, is a â€œlouder versionâ€ of Dhaliwal on the stage.
â€œOther people have characters that they play or are completely different onstage than they are offstage. I am one and the same,â€ 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 â€” but we wonâ€™t spoil it for you.
The Tandoori Kings of Comedy hit the stage at the Bell Performing Arts Centre on Saturday Nov. 8. Show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are available for $20 at Bellperformingartscentre.com or Kamalâ€™s Video Palace (103 â€“ 8268 120th St., Surrey), or at the door for $25.