The BBC's Asian Provocateur Romesh Ranganathan performs his debut live stand-up show, recorded in front of a sell-out audience at London's Hammersmith Apollo.
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Ladies and gentlemen, please can you welcome to the stage,
me, Romesh Ranganathan!
This programme contains strong language.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
Hello, Hammersmith Apollo, how are we?
The reason I'm asking, it's very nice to see you,
you all seem very happy.
Um... I sort of wonder how happy I am, you know?
I discover things about myself, even now.
I had an epiphany recently, in a Starbucks.
Are there any fans of Starbucks in?
Who hates Starbucks? CHEERING
Yeah, I know. I know... (RP ACCENT): "..they don't pay
"their taxes, Romesh, they don't pay their taxes."
-"I can't believe you'd even mention them." (OWN VOICE): That's
-I drink there.
That's why I drink there - I drink in Starbucks
because I don't agree with the war on Syria, and I know that
Starbucks aren't funding it cos they're not funding anything.
All right? So...
I was in a Starbucks, I had my epiphany in a Starbucks,
and I tell you what, I was annoyed because I was at a shared table.
I'm at a shared table. We have to sit with other people.
It's unacceptable, isn't it,
that we have to sit with other people, with strangers, now?
This is a thing that they do. They do it in restaurants, as well, like Wagamama's.
Who's been in a Wagamama's recently?
Yeah? Wagamama's is a shithole.
It's a shithole, all right?
And they get away with being a shithole because they tell you,
"That's the way we do it at Wagamama's."
"That's the way we do it at Wagamama's."
I went in there, "Can I have a table for two, please?"
"There's no table for two..."
"..at Wagamama's, it's shared table, you sit with..." It's a restaurant
where you don't get your own table, right?
And God forbid you go there on your own!
I went to eat there on my own, and they sat me at a trough for loners by the window, right?
We were sat there like puppy dogs at a rescue centre, just...
"You not get any friends either?" "Nah, mate."
I could not believe it, man.
When you go to a restaurant, you order your food,
you eat your food, and then you go.
Right? That's how a restaurant's supposed to work. Not at Wagamama's.
Might not work out like that.
Because at Wagamama's, they don't know
when your food's going to be ready.
I was at Wagamama's. I ordered my food.
They said, "Just to let you know, at Wagamama's,
"the food might not arrive all at the same time.
"At Wagamama's, the food arrives when it's ready."
What's the unknown variable here?
Have you never cooked this shit before?
Let me give you a little tip, Waga, or tell your mama,
or whoever the fuck's got to find out about this...
..try and remember how long it took you to make it the last time
you cooked it.
Subtract that from the time that you would like it to be ready,
and then start cooking it then, you mouth-breather!
Because what I don't want...
..what I don't want is to be having my starter when this prick's
having his dessert because you can't co-ordinate two meals!
We're just supposed to sit there, like, "Fingers crossed!"
It's unbelievable, mate.
I ordered my food, right... This is what happened.
I ordered my food. The guy writes what I've ordered on my bit of paper.
I order it, he writes it down there.
I'm not the one that needs a reminder, mate!
I think I can hold on to the information,
just make sure it's on your notepad, knobhead.
What do you think's going to happen?!
You think you're going to come out and, "Who ordered the tofu noodles?"
"I thought we'd ordered the cocktail!"
It's not just restaurants and cafes I find irritating.
Cinema, I find annoying.
I go to the cinema on my own a lot.
I do go with my children from time to time,
but I find it very frustrating...
..going with my children, because they don't have a
very discerning palate when it comes to watching films.
They think everything's good,
and I get frustrated that I can't talk to them...
..about it. I went to watch Ice Age 4 with my son.
It's a goddamn abomination. Right?
I'm sitting there watching it, thinking, "I can't wait to talk to him about it."
We get out the cinema, he goes to me, "That was brilliant, wasn't it, Daddy?"
I'm like, "I can't talk to you, can I?"
"Bright colours, loud noises, you're impressed. It was SHIT, bruv!"
So, anyway, I go to the cinema on my own a lot.
I go to the cinema on my own a lot, but I like children's films.
..going on your own to watch a children's film at the cinema
is a very selfish thing to do, OK?
Cos what you are basically doing is,
you are ruining that experience for everybody else in the cinema.
Because if you go with your kids to the cinema to watch a film
and there's somebody that looks like me
sat on their own in the theatre, you can't fully enjoy that film, right?
Not if you're a good parent.
If you're a good parent, you're 80% watching the film,
20% checking to see if that guy starts wanking.
..that's if you're a good parent.
I've had three kids and I regret it, you know? I do regret it.
It's too many, isn't it?
Isn't it too many?
Who's got more than two kids?
Yeah? What a shitting error!
But what can you do? You can't kill them.
You just got to sit there and wait to die, like,
"I can't believe we've done this."
"We are never going to be happy.
"I know, I don't know why we did it.
"Well, it was your idea, it wasn't my idea.
"I said, "I don't like condoms," that's very different."
I don't know why we had the third one.
I don't know...!
I know why we had the second one, cos the first one's a legend.
Oh, my God, what a kid.
(IN RP ACCENT): "Hello, Daddy."
"Love you, Daddy."
"Can I get you some toast, Daddy?"
(OWN VOICE): Oh, my God, love that boy. Mmm!
When we just had him, I said to my wife, "Do you know what, darling?
"I think we've mastered parenting.
"Do you know what I think it is?
"I think it's just about setting clear boundaries
"and being consistent."
The second one - feral, right?!
I love him, but what a prick this kid is, man.
Like, I love him, but I do not like him.
Sometime I want him to get hurt.
There you go, I said it, sometimes...
..I want this prick to get hurt. And let me explain why.
He doesn't listen to a word I say, this kid.
Five-year-old boy, doesn't listen to anything I say.
When we go out, he runs away.
But not in, like, a cute, toddler way -
he runs away like he's fleeing Isis.
Just headed for the hills.
People go, "Let's get you away from the bad man.
"Don't worry, don't worry."
And let's be honest, I don't look like I'm NOT in Isis, yeah?
Sometimes I want him to get hurt, man.
When I say to him, "Dude, don't do that...
"..because if you do that, you're going to get hurt..."
..and then he does it...
..and he doesn't get hurt...
..that pisses me off, right?
Because that is...
that is life telling him that I'm full of shit.
That's what's happening, there.
Trying to control these kids, man, it's hard.
Who's got more than two?
Who's got three?
How many have you got, mate?
Three. What's your name, madam?
-Danielle. Hello, Danielle, how are you?
What have you got?
-Two girls and a boy.
-Two girls and a boy.
-Have you tried behaviour charts with your kids?
We're trying to do behaviour charts with our kids, right?
It's where you get a chart, stick it up on the fridge...
Well, you put it where you want, but...
..ours is on the fridge. Every time your kid's good, they get a sticker.
When they get enough stickers you buy them something
because you're out of ideas.
You could, obviously...
Obviously, you could promise some quality time, but...
..what a massive ball ache that is!
I don't see why I should reward my children's behaviour
by punishing myself. It makes no sense.
I'm not saying it's a punishment to spend time with my children,
I'm saying it's a punishment to organise something.
You know, you got to book the tickets, look at the...
"Just have something plastic and fuck off," that's my strategy.
That's what you're doing when you buy your kids a present, isn't it? "This is for you...
"..to leave Mummy and Daddy alone for a long, long time.
"If you get bored with the car, have a
"look in the boot, there's a little sedative."
And so, anyway... We're doing the behaviour charts.
We're setting our kids targets, right?
We're setting them school-based targets.
My eldest has been at school for a while, the second one has just started, right?
Before... I think that school is the first point at which
I sort of care about what my kids are up to when they're not at home.
What I mean by that is, when my eldest son was at nursery,
I'd go to pick him up and the girl there would go, "Great day today.
"Would you like your daily report of what he's been up to?"
I don't think so. What could possibly have done today,
that I would care...?
"Let me guess, he dropped some stuff and he shit himself, because
"that's what he does at home.
"Like, unless he's built a shed, I really...
"..couldn't care less about what you've got to say.
"In fact, I resent the fact you're talking to me now."
That's the honest truth of it.
So anyway, they're at school. The second one's just started.
Just before the second one started, we got a letter home saying,
"Please make sure your kid can dress themselves
"and they're toilet trained."
Now, I'm hoping beyond hope that every parent got that letter.
What I mean by that is, I'm hoping they didn't just see us one day...
..and think, "Jesus Christ, fire a letter off to those savages."
My wife started getting nervous about it, right, like,
"Oh, my God, what if he's not toilet..." I said, "Who cares?"
"If he shits himself at school,
"the bullying alone will stop that immediately.
"That will cure him of that straight away." Right?
Plus, I don't even know the point of toilet training.
What is the point of toilet training?
What happens if you don't do it?
What are the consequences? You're going to get it eventually.
Aren't you? Have you ever met anyone...
Have you ever met anyone that's just gone, "I was just never..."
"..I was just never toilet trained, and..."
"..now I just shit where I stand. It's sad.
"My God, I've just done one." Do you know what I mean?
Who the hell does that?
So, anyway, the kids are at school.
We're setting them targets.
The eldest one, we've got targets like, "Get yourself
"on the smiley face board at school."
"Be helpful to your teacher."
You can't have targets like that for the second one. Yeah?
Those targets are too aspirational...
..for this arsehole, right? So he's got targets like,
"Don't burn anything."
"No knife crime."
These are the targets we have for this prick, right? So anyway...
..eventually, he gets five stickers.
It's not that impressive, it is after a six-month period. Right?
But I said to him, "Well done, mate, you've absolutely smashed it."
"Let's get you a couple of things."
He chose two things - a Spider-Man costume
and a pushchair with a doll in it.
Now, fine. No problem at all.
The issue that I had is that he wanted to use those
things at the same time.
So the next time I go out with him...
..we're down the park.
He's got a full Spider-Man costume on, pushing a pushchair,
looking like a Father For Justice.
Just this horrible tribute act.
"Weekends are not enough, Daddy!"
The third one...
..don't really know what he's going to be like, cos he's only two.
Do you know what I mean?
He's not really contributing anything...
..personality-wise, or whatever.
He did do something quite cool when he was a little baby, which I
thought, "Hold on a minute, this kid might be a goddamn legend."
When he was a little baby...
He slammed me, before he could even speak, slammed me. This is how he did it.
I was having a little father-son moment with him,
just "Coochy coochy coo, coochy coo.
"Daddy loves you.
"Daddy loves you."
..latched on to breast-feed.
That is a baby's way of going,
"You're a fat prick, mate, aren't you?"
Anyway, I've digressed massively. I'm in Starbucks.
I'm in Starbucks, I'm having a coffee. Right?
I'm on my laptop, because I need something to look at.
Right? I can't just drink a coffee, and just..
You know these people, just?
"I just like to watch the world go by. That's what I do, people-watch."
You're a psychopath.
That's, that's what you are, all right?
So, I'm on my laptop, I'm on Facebook.
Do you like Facebook, mate? Course you do, brother.
You know my favourite thing about Facebook?
My favourite thing about Facebook.
And your favourite thing, as well,
is when people you know hit rock bottom.
"I DON'T THINK I CAN GO ON ANY MORE."
Sometimes, I unlike it and like it again,
just so they get the notification, do you know what I mean?
One of the other things I like about Facebook is the fact that,
you know, I'm an unattractive man.
There is no point denying that, all right?
I'm an unattractive man, but I've not got unattractive as I've got older.
I've always looked terrible, right?
I set the bar low early doors.
Now, that sounds sad, but what that means is that I'm
liberated from the ageing process, right?
Because I am never going to look worse.
And I've never looked better, right?
My life cycle is look like shit, look like shit,
look like shit, dead.
But what I like to do is, I like to...
Basically, you know the people in your year group at school,
the people that were the hot ones in your year group?
They were so hot they didn't bother to develop a personality,
cos they were so good-looking.
They were never nice to you because they're so good-looking.
All the teachers were great to them cos they were good-looking.
What I like to do is I like to
go on Facebook, find them now...
..and check out how they've decayed.
I send them little passive-aggressive messages,
like, "Is that you?"
"I barely recognised you."
I'm not worried about getting older, man. Do you know what I'm worried about? Putting on weight.
I mean, I look like shit.
I'm very self-conscious about my body.
Not so self-conscious that I'm actually going to change my
lifestyle, but I am self-conscious, though.
This is how bad I've got it.
I woke up one morning,
I went to the bathroom, I looked in the mirror.
I was so disgusted
at the chocolate blancmange abomination
that was staring back at me, that I went back to the bedroom
and I apologised to my wife for my appearance.
And she accepted my apology.
This is how bad I've got it, right? I don't even want to
take my kids swimming because
I don't want to take my top off in public.
Do you know what my wife said to me? "Just wear a T-shirt."
Oh, yeah, that'll distract any attention, won't it?
One knobhead in the corner of the pool,
wet T-shirt clinging to his torso.
"Oh, yeah, I find this just helps me glide through the water, yeah.
"No, no, no, he's not breast-feeding, we're just having a laugh."
..my excess weight and my lack of attractiveness is
one of the main reasons I've never cheated on my wife.
It's not the number one reason,
that is because I love her very much. But...
Thank you, but a close second...
..is lack of opportunity. I'm meaning this...
There is no point denying that.
It's easy to be faithful when you're repulsive, isn't it?
I mean, I can't even fantasise about another woman,
cos that fantasy is ruined by the fact that in that fantasy,
I would have to be there, do you know what I mean?
It's a massive turn-off.
It doesn't matter how hot the woman is, eventually my gelatinous
bulk has to rock up and say, "Can we start having sex now?"
If I want to fantasise about a woman, I've first got to fantasise
about six months of intensive cardio, do you know what I mean?
This is what I find helpful about Facebook, right,
what I find useful about it,
is it enables your to identify which of your friends are twats, basically.
Because what happens is,
when your friends speak to you they just tell you what
they think you want to hear or they sort of, like,
keep their real opinions to themselves.
But on Facebook, they post up what they really think,
and then you think, "oh, right, yeah, no, you are a bell-end."
"Like... I didn't know, I suspected, but now I know."
It's when you find out which of your friends are racist,
homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, Islamophobic...
My wife gets really offended.
She's like, "oh, God, I hate it." I love it.
I gravitate towards it.
I start asking them more questions.
I want to know exactly how idiotic these morons are, right?
One of my wife's friends, she put up a Britain First picture. Right?
"Ban the burkha," right?
Had a picture of a woman in a burkha. It said, "This is DISGUSTING.
"If you want this to stop, click Like."
..that is how...
..this woman thinks that legislation works.
Right? That, basically, Theresa May will look at that and go,
"Shit, we're going to have to ban the burkha.
"Well, it's got 700 likes, and they've just put it on Lad Bible."
Anyway, straight away, right, my wife defriended her.
She said, "It's racist."
Now, I don't know if she really thought that or if she was doing it out of solidarity with me.
I'm not Muslim, but I think she's just trying to show that
she's down with the browns, you know?
Anyway, straight away, she defriended her.
Fuck that, mate! I added her.
I sent her a message, "I don't like Muslims, either."
Let's see how deep the rabbit hole goes. Do you know what I mean?
But it does make me nervous, cos I think, "Shit..." you know,
"..what does this mean for my..."
I'm married to a white woman, do you know what I mean?
I'm telling you that because it's important for the next bit,
I'm not showing off, all right?
But I'm not one of these ethnic minorities that remain within their own communities.
I'll move to your neighbourhood, I'll take one of your jobs, I'll shag one of your women.
And I will bring the property prices right down.
That's just how I operate.
Sometimes I think I'm having more children just to
piss off the neighbours, do you know what I mean?
Just, "Another brown one, mate!
"You'll be the minority soon, won't you, if this carries on!
"I can't remember the last time I saw a condom, to be honest with you!
"Ah, don't worry about it. If I can't afford it, I'll just claim."
But it does make me nervous, cos I think I'm in a multicultural family.
What the hell's going on?
I mean, Ukip got a million votes in the last election.
I was thinking, "Jesus, what does that mean for my family?"
And then I realised, I'm misjudging Ukip.
I don't know anything about them.
I'm bandying them in with the EDL and Britain First.
I thought, "I don't know anything about them. Need to educate myself. Need to find out about them."
So I did, I went to the Ukip website, checked them out.
Do you know what?
Very nice website.
Nice colour scheme, easy to navigate menus - they've got some values.
Started looking at the policies.
I'm thinking, "There's not a lot of shit here I disagree with."
You know? They want to take tax off the minimum wage. I'm in complete agreement with that.
I get to the end of it, read all the policies, I thought, "Fuck!
"I think I'm Ukip."
I phoned up my mum, I said,
"Honestly, what have you really contributed?"
I'll be honest with you, I wasn't that happy with her answers.
That's the honest truth of it.
She might have to go.
Should have put more in.
She is a wonderful woman...
..my mother, but she, um...
She doesn't actually consider me to be a proper Asian.
This is the sad state of affairs in my life. My mum calls me a coconut. I don't know if you've heard this.
Don't applaud it!
Brown on the outside, white on the inside. That's what my mum calls me.
(AS HIS MUM): "You coconut!"
(IN OWN VOICE): And the reason...
The reason my mum calls me a coconut is I was originally Sri Lankan,
my mother tongue is Tamil and I cannot speak it.
And the reason I cannot speak it is because my mum
and dad never spoke it to me...
..when I was growing up, and now my mum blames me...
..for not being able to speak it.
So she'll come up to me and she'll go... "Ba tack a da-da"
And I'll say, "I dunno what you're on about." Right?
And then she'll go, "WHY DON'T YOU KNOW?!"
"Because there's no Rosetta Stone Tamil!
"That's why I don't know, Mum!"
And then we'll go out and my mum will slag me
off to her friends in front of me, like I don't know what's going on.
So I'll be stood there, she'll be at a party, and she'll be going,
"Ba tack a ba, coconut, ba da da." Like, "I know what you're saying, Mum!"
"I got the gist of what you said there."
Then she'll try and code it up like some sort of special agent, right?
"Ba tacka lacka, BOUNTY, ba da da."
Like, "I know what a Bounty is!"
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
"Ba tacka lacka, Kinder Surprise!" "All right, Mum, chill out!"
"Oh, choc ice bastard, da, da da!" "All right."
I went to Sri Lanka to try and de-coconut myself, you know?
Get in touch with my heritage, and, er...
We made a show about it, and, er...
Thank you very much.
And my mum was in that show,
and I'll be honest with you,
I massively regret her involvement.
Let me explain why.
To get to a point where you get a TV show, it's incredibly difficult, right?
You start off as a stand-up. You're not doing rooms like this.
You're doing a pub with eight people, they're facing the other way. Right?
Then you keep working at it, keep working at it, and eventually you get to a point where
you're doing it for a career and then eventually,
after that, you get to a point where you get some TV. Now, it's difficult to get TV.
The reason I got TV is very much
thanks to diversity quotas. Right?
You get two for one with me - I'm brown and I've got a lazy eye.
Right? So, basically, you get
ethnicity and disability. Right?
If they ever do a Bollywood Last Leg, right,
you're looking at the host.
Anyway. I got to a point where I'd pitched this show
and they liked the show and said, "We're going to make the show," and
you go, "Brilliant, this is amazing! Incredible!
"The hard work's paid off. The luck has come in.
"My dream has come true. I'm making this show, this is amazing."
And then this fucking woman...
..sweeps in with her little cameo. (AS HIS MUM): "Oh, you fat belly coconut bastard!"
(IN OWN VOICE): And then all of a sudden, she's a star!
She's a star!
I'm getting tweets - "Your mum's funnier than you!"
"When's your mum on tour?" When's your mum on tour?!
Never done a gig in her life, right?
She's getting separate offers, mate.
I got a phone call - BBC Asian Network.
"Will your mum be an agony aunt?"
I didn't even check with her, I said no. Fuck her!
There is no WAY...
..I'm letting her get a career off my back, man.
Are you shitting me?!
God, it feels good to get that off my chest, man.
Anyway. I can tell you we are doing another series...
Thanks very much, thank you very much, I'm very excited about it.
..it's six episodes and it all, I think I can say now,
it all centres around my mum getting deported.
It's called Asian Deporteur, I'm very excited about it.
It's just her on a boat going, "This ticket doesn't say 'return'. Oh, shit!"
"See you later, Mum, should have put more in!"
It's funny, innit, the idea of a 60-year-old woman just being sent back to where she comes from?
Hope she's all right. Um, OK.
I, er, went to Sri Lanka to try and de-coconut myself, right?
And I was annoyed before I even left this country.
Right? And I'll tell you why, the airport did my head in, right?
Because they were doing Ebola checks at the airport.
And I'd been shitting myself about Ebola.
Was anyone here worried about Ebola?
No. And it's very easy to not worry
about something that doesn't affect
anyone who looks like you.
I understand that, right?
But I was nervous about it.
Started watching the news, trying to stay on top of it.
You know what pisses me off about the news, right?
They never recap what's been happening.
So, the news will start and they'll start talking about a story
that's been developing over the last few days, and I don't know...
..what the hell's going on,
and they just assume that you've been following it up to that point.
I'm just turning to my wife, going, "What is Krishnan talking about?
"I don't understand."
They don't recap the news.
It's the most important show on TV,
and they don't recap it, yet every other moronic...
..thick as pig shit TV show
is recapped to within an inch of its life.
Right? Come Dine With Me...
..the whole show's a fucking recap.
Right? Nothing happens in that show.
You watch, it goes, "Derek's made a tiramisu! Join us after the break
"and find out exactly what the guests thought about the tiramisu!"
Then you watch the break, then after the break it goes, "Before the break, Derek made a tiramisu!"
"His guests are eating it."
I know, mate, I can literally see the guy eating the tiramisu.
It's not the radio.
I'm watching it, dude.
Why are you telling me?!
Why don't they do that on the news?
I know they don't want to make the news longer,
just put it on the red button, then.
"Today, we're going to talk about Ebola in Africa." Red button, "What's Africa?"
Do you know what I mean? Just to sort of...
Do you know what the funniest thing about the Ebola checks was?
The funniest thing, right?
Voluntary checks at the airports in this country to find out if
you've got Ebola.
Who the shit is going to volunteer
to spend more time at an airport
to find out if they might have Ebola?
Not me, mate. I've got a massive Toblerone to get stuck into.
I haven't got time to find out...
..if I've got a deadly virus!
Difficult enough to fly out of this country as it is! I'm brown with a beard, mate.
I was wearing a camouflage jacket cos I'm having a mid-life crisis.
I might as well have said, "Hello, there. Could I please have a rectal exam?"
I was complaining about it to a friend of mine.
I said, "Dude, I'm so done with this airport security, man.
"It's pissing me off."
Do you know what he said to me?
He said to me... (IN RP ACCENT): "..don't be so bloody selfish.
"Do you know the reason we have those measures in place, Romesh?
"It's because we don't want the terrorists to win.
"So why don't you suck it up and deal with it...
(IN OWN VOICE): Now, I understand that argument, but my counter-argument
would be this...
..how do we know that the terrorists haven't already won?
How do we know what their initial goal was?
What if their initial goal was just to make air travel fucking annoying?
Because if that was their initial goal,
they've absolutely smashed it, mate. They've knocked it out the park.
Somewhere there's a terrorist going,
"And the infidels have to take their shoes off even on internal flights!
It's very difficult to do a generic, inoffensive terrorist accent.
And that is why I went for the Count from Sesame Street.
I don't know if you noticed that.
Just because I thought it would be funny if he was a terrorist.
(AS COUNT:) "How many seconds till detonation?
"Nine, ah-ah-ah!" It's hilarious.
For ten seconds, then you're dead, but it's hilarious.
I do find myself disagreeing with Isis.
Not their ideologies. The ideologies I'm kind of on the fence about.
It's their techniques.
Their techniques is what I've got a problem, right?
They've got no idea how to bring down the West, these guys.
They keep threatening our lives.
None of us give a shit about that. We're too comfortable.
If I was advising Isis -
and fingers crossed, I'm waiting on a call-back - but if I was...
..if I was advising Isis, I would say to them,
"Listen, mate, you're getting it all wrong.
"That's not how you bring down the West.
"Stop threatening people's lives.
"You want to bring down the West, this is what you do -
"make shit inconvenient".
Right, that's how you bring down the West. Now, think about it -
what are you more concerned about on a day-to-day basis?
What affects your mental state more regularly?
A train blowing up, or somebody stopping in front of you
in the middle of a busy street for no fucking reason?
What affects you more, yeah?
What bothers you on a day-to-day?
What messes with your mind more?
A plane potentially blowing up on takeoff, or going into Sainsbury's
and finding they've moved the shit to different aisles yet again?
Do you know what I've realised?
I don't give a shit about losing my life.
Do you know what I give a shit about?
Losing Wi-Fi. That's what I care about.
I'm a jihadi for unlimited data,
that's what I've discovered about myself.
If I found out that by sympathising with Isis, I could get rid of
the buffering circle on Netflix, I'd join Isis tomorrow.
I mean that. HE SHRIEKS
I'm fucking in. You won't see me here,
you'll see me doing a YouTube video from a cave,
going, "Hello, I'm Romesh Ranganathan.
"I went into Sainsbury's, I couldn't find the bread,
"it was the last straw.
"So now I've joined Isis, the Wi-Fi is incredible.
"Uploaded this video in no time at all,
"nobody bumps into you in the street, down with the West".
What I'm hoping is nobody just releases only that clip
onto YouTube, because that has got...
That's got, "Career-ender" written all over it, hasn't it?
The Daily Mail will have a field day with that.
You'll just see me on the front like this.
So, anyway, I went to Sri Lanka to try and de-coconut myself.
This is the problem I've got, OK? This is the problem I've got.
I'm British, and I'm out of that, but I'm also proud of my Sri Lankan
heritage, but I cannot connect with it. And the reason I cannot
connect with it is because I do not speak the language.
But I look like I should be able to speak the language.
This is an incredible Sri Lankan disguise.
If you're white and you go to Sri Lanka, you've got no problems,
because they just assume obviously you can speak it. For me,
it looks like I can speak it, and they're extremely friendly people.
As soon as we landed, they're talking to me.
So I'm walking through the airport, bump into someone...
And I have to say, "I'm so sorry, mate.
"I can barely understand Glaswegian.
"There's no banter to be had here, sorry".
And then I can't even connect with my family.
That's the sad thing, I can't even connect with my family,
because they only speak a bit of English.
I don't speak any Tamil.
So I'll meet an uncle, and go, "Hello, Uncle." "Hello, Romesh.
"You good? "Yeah, I'm good. You good?" "Yes."
One of my uncles give me an insight
into Sri Lankan culture accidentally.
He introduced me to his wife,
brought over this sort of portly Sri Lankan woman.
And then he goes, "Romesh, this is my wife".
And I said, "Lovely to meet you".
And then he goes...
And then I looked at her,
and she's going, "Ha-ha-ha, fat, fat, fat!"
And then I realised, my mum's not the arsehole.
They're all arseholes.
No British hang-ups. "You're fat, you're ugly, who gives a shit?
"We can still be mates." Do you know what I mean?
This is the weird situation, the weird situation in my life,
is that my mum and dad worried about my brother and I
not been Sri Lankan enough.
Also, conversely, worried about us not being English enough, right?
And this is...
My mum was so worried about me growing up in this country,
my mum and dad both so worried about me growing up in this country,
they gave me a secret weapon.
Don't worry, it's not something I'm now going to detonate.
It's much... It's much more innocent than that.
This is my secret weapon.
My first name is not Romesh. Romesh is my middle name.
My first name is Jonathan.
Go fuck yourselves. But it is Jonathan, all right?
That's what it says on my birth certificate.
Now, I didn't know that...
..because when I was at home, as a little kid, my mum and dad
called me Romesh. The first time I found out...
..what my name was...
..was my first day at school.
You know, when the teachers have got the registers.
Can you imagine that? I'm just sat there like, "What?"
Your first day at school is difficult enough as it is
without finding out you've got a secret identity.
I came home, I said... I can't remember exactly what I said
to my dad, something along the lines of, "What is my name?"
And he said to me, "Well, we didn't want to have to discuss it with you
"this early on, but I will explain it to you, Romesh.
"In this country, there is discrimination, and sometimes
"you don't get opportunities that you deserve
"because of your ethnicity, so
"we thought you could use this name when you're applying for things..."
"..and hopefully dodge the issue."
It's a very well-intentioned plan.
I don't know how he thought that was going to play out.
So, I put that on an application form.
A guy looks at it, and goes, "Ah!
"Must be a white guy. Must be a white guy, let's get him in.
"Finally, a good old traditional English name. This is great.
"I like the cut of his jib, this guy. Good English fella.
"He's a frontrunner, I tell you.
"It's between him and Christopher Patel".
..what the shit happens at the interview?
I mean, I've got to meet somebody, so I'd rock up there.
"Hello there, who are you?"
"I'm Jonathan." "You're Jonathan?"
"What the fuck is going on here? Have you seen him?
"Well, I thought he was the driver, but he's actually the applicant.
"Does he look like a Jonathan to you?
"He looks like he literally just stepped off a boat.
"So it's actually you that's Jonathan, yeah?
"I can't believe this. Can we just get that light on?
"No, he is that dark. Jesus!
"Well, I blame you for this.
"Well, we had exactly the same problem with Christopher."
Anyway, I've digressed massively. I'm in Starbucks...
You remember this? I'm in Starbucks, I'm drinking my coffee,
I'm at my laptop, having a wonderful time, right? I'm at a shared table.
This woman walks in, she orders her coffee, right?
She comes to sit down, she's got to sit near me,
because I'm at a shared table.
As she goes to sit down, she knocks my coffee onto my laptop,
breaking it instantly.
Then she turned to me, and she goes, "oh, my God.
"I'm so sorry.
"Can I get you another coffee?"
"Yeah, that would be great. Thank you so much.
"I will have a Macbookuccino."
So this is how Starbucks showed me how British I am, right?
The woman who spilt the coffee, I've gone to her, "oh, my God.
"Well, the important thing is, are you OK?"
"Please don't worry about getting me another coffee,
"I'll just pour the coffee from the laptop back into my cup.
"Yes, it is completely destroyed, but at least I've made a friend."
I phoned my wife to tell her about it, right?
I phoned my wife to tell her about it.
And I love my wife very much, but what I discovered is,
when something horrible happens to you, and you tell the person that
you care about more than anyone else in the world about what happened...
..every single thing they say is annoying.
Like, every single word that woman said
made me want to punch a wall until my knuckles bled.
You know what she said to me?
"Is it broken? "Is it broken?!
"No, if anything, it's running faster!
"It's got a nice little coffee smell.
"Just thought I'd phone and let you know the good news.
"Yeah, everything's coming up Romesh!"
Oh, my God, she's a very funny woman.
Not intentionally. I'll give you an example.
I was due to do a gig in Barton-upon-Humber last year.
Two weeks before I'm due to do the gig, I get a phone call from
my agent. She said, "Romesh, little bit of an awkward situation.
"The venue have been contacted by the BNP, and they say that
"they're fundamentally opposed to you performing in Barton.
"And if you go ahead with the performance, they are going to stage
"a protest the likes of which Barton has never seen".
Now, I don't know what that means. Are they going to dress up?
Is there going to be cake? I've got no idea.
My agent said to me, "What do you want to do?"
I said, "Well, the tour's not been selling that well.
"This could be exactly the kind of PR...
"..that could give it a kick. Is there any way you could organise,
"contact some other racist organisations,
"see if you can get them to unify and get this into the nationals?
She said to me, "No, that's not what I meant.
"What I meant was, do you want to pull the show?"
I said, "No, absolutely not,"
because I thought this could be my big break.
If they do a big protest, suddenly I'm a race warrior,
I'm a hero, I'm in all the papers. That's what I wanted, right?
They had to put plainclothes police officers in the audience
in case anything kicked off, right?
So that's five tickets.
I'm not going to give them freebies.
It's not my fault you've got BNP activity, mate. Control it.
Anyway, we turn up there.
We turn up there, pull into the car park, no protest.
And in many ways, that is the ultimate protest, isn't it?
"We hate you so much
"that we cannot be arsed to turn up and tell you how much we hate you."
I was still nervous, though, because I thought,
"Shit, they said it was a protest the likes of which
"Barton had never seen". It could happen at any point.
I could be in the toilet, and they'd get me there.
One of them comes out of the bowl.
"Take that, you brown bastard!"
Fist up the arsehole, something like that.
I don't know, could be surprise attack, sneak attack, right?
So I'm still nervous. We get into the venue,
the staff in the venue are being very apologetic,
sort of overcompensating, being very nice.
Did me a curry, which I thought, "Bit of a pisstake, but..."
It had raisins in it. Anyway, doesn't matter. So...
I do the show, nothing happens.
I finish the show, phone up my wife because she was worried.
I said, "Nothing happened. She said, "You know what, Rom?
"In many ways, you've sort of got to hope that it was racism".
And I said to her...
"What the shit are you talking about?"
She said to me, "Well, imagine if it wasn't, that would be much worse".
Imagine if the BNP contacted the venue and said,
"Hello, this is the BNP.
"We're fundamentally opposed to Romesh performing in Barton".
And they said, "We don't tolerate racism".
And they said, "No, it's not racism.
"We just think he's dog shit".
Imagine, as an ethnic minority act,
if your ethnicity wasn't what the BNP found most offensive about you.
She's a wonderful woman, my wife. I love her very much.
She looks after our three children, she does a wonderful job.
I made the mistake of suggesting that my day at work
might have been 10% as challenging as her day.
And she nearly punched my teeth out through my arsehole.
So I realise that I shouldn't have done that.
She does feel like she has got to justify what she does to me.
"I've got to do this, then I've got to do that, I've got to do this."
She doesn't have to justify what she does to me.
I know how difficult it is to spend time with those children.
I've done it four or five times.
The last time, it was like a triple-prong attack on my sanity.
It was like they'd planned it.
It was unbelievable, as if one of them went, "Right, she's gone out.
HE LAUGHS SINISTERLY
"OK, this is what we're going to do.
"You take a shit in that corner.
"You take a piss in that corner.
"This is the genius bit -
"I'm just going to grab my dick for no reason.
"Trust me - if we time it right, he will kill himself."
You know what my wife does? She makes up deadlines.
I've got no idea why she does this. She makes up deadlines.
I'll say to her, "I'm off out now. What are you up to?"
She'll go, "Well, got to clean the windows by 3:00".
Is there a window inspection at 3:05 that I didn't know about?
I didn't even know we cleaned the fucking windows.
You know my deadline for cleaning the windows?
When I can't see out of them any more.
If I come downstairs and go, "Where the shit is the garden?
"Jesus! Oh, of course, we need to clean those".
Oh, God. She's a wonderful woman.
She deserves the very best, but I cannot be arsed to provide it.
It's such a difficult conundrum. I want her to be happy,
but I've got no inclination to do anything about it.
What do you do?
What do you do? It's a difficult one, isn't it?
I do want her to be happy, but I don't want to do anything.
The way I figure it, I don't have to be an excellent husband, I just have
to be slightly less annoying than starting divorce proceedings.
You know, that's how I figure it.
Trying to figure out a solution. I think I've figured it out.
I think I've figured out a way of me not doing anything
but her being happy.
I just figured, let her have a boyfriend.
I do think that's the solution.
I know how people worry about their marriage.
"Oh, I don't know what's going on.
"Bit tough. Don't know where she is tonight."
I know where my wife is tonight.
She's with Andy. I arranged it.
So many advantages to having an Andy.
Got an extra childcare option.
You've got a mate.
Don't have to worry about your sexual performance any more,
cos Andy's smashing the shit out of it.
Do you know what I mean? It's amazing!
You know when you go out with your friends
and complain about your other half? When you're with Andy,
you're complaining about the same person. Play mind games with him.
"Isn't it weird when she does her multiple orgasm face?
"Oh, you haven't seen it?"
I sometimes think the biggest advantage of having an Andy
is I'd quite like to have a go on Andy myself.
I am thinking about going gay.
For a bit, do you know what I mean?
Like a gap year.
I'll tell you why - I've never tried it. It might be better.
You're supposed to try everything, aren't you?
So I'm thinking, this year, I'm going to try, like, pottery...
..and being gay for a bit.
I do think we are in a situation where being gay, we pretend,
is normalised by society, but I don't think it is.
I saw two guys kissing recently,
and went, "Oh, there's two guys kissing".
I shouldn't have even acknowledged it, but I did.
I'm not homophobic, but then I realised, the reason I acknowledged
it is because I just haven't seen it that much.
Based on the TV and film I have watched, they don't normalise it.
Every time there's a homosexual relationship, it's part of some kind
of ground-breaking, award-winning BAFTA-nominated storyline.
It's not normalised.
Netflix has got a separate category for gay, lesbian and bisexual,
so it's not normalised. I just haven't seen it that much
on TV and film. Think about it.
You know, two guys kissing. You just haven't seen that that much.
Based on the TV and film I've watched,
I've seen more people take a bullet to the head
than I have seen dudes kissing.
Based on the TV and film I've watched,
I've seen more talking animals than I have seen dudes kissing.
I am currently conditioned to be more surprised by two guys kissing
than I am by a bear going, "All right, Rom?"
Do you know what I mean? That's insane.
I do also think that heterosexual dudes are incredibly arrogant.
You know, I do think we are very arrogant.
I'll give you an example of how arrogant I think we are -
we are turned on by lesbian pornography.
I mean, it doesn't get much more arrogant than that, does it?
That is a situation where a penis could not be less welcome.
And a heterosexual man will watch that scene, see two women
just having a cracking time, and his primary thought is,
"Imagine what would happen if I rocked up".
I think sex would be better with a dude, I think I'd be better
at sex with a dude. There you go, I said it. I'll tell you why - I
just think a man's got to be better at handling a penis than a woman.
You know? Based purely on the number of practice hours that he's had.
It takes, what, 10,000 hours to master something.
There's 8,760 hours in a year.
I reckon I mastered my dick in a year and a half, right?
I'm a dick ninja, mate. The pleasure I could give a man!
Backhand, forehand, volley, whatever you want, mate.
I was going to step up and show my potential, my true potential.
I feel sorry for women, cos the first time they're dealing with a
penis, it's not a training session, they're in the fucking game.
Just like, "Oh, shit, what do I do with this?"
Shifting it around, trying to find third.
I just think a dude would be much more comfortable.
There's nothing he hasn't seen, mate, dick-related.
He'd just step up like a bloody cocktail bartender.
"Don't worry, sir, we'll have you off in no time at all."
What I'm trying to say is, "I think I'm gay," all right?
I think I'm gay, I just need to find the dude that's into the
Asian Rolf Harris look, and then we are in smash town.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Apollo, you've been absolutely amazing.
Thank you very much. Goodnight!
I don't do a proper encore, I just come back out.
I do try and spend quality time with my wife, right?
And I think, based on what I've said before I went off there,
I probably need to.
My wife and I, we watch TV together.
That's what happens, isn't it? When you start off a relationship,
your quality time means you're going out and doing all sorts of stuff,
but I'm at the point where you just sort of exist in the same room.
Do you know what I mean? Like, "Paul, how's the marriage going?"
"It's going great. You know, last night, we had a bit of quality time.
"We both sort of sat in the same room
"and looked in the same direction for about four hours.
"It was wonderful, man. We didn't really talk to each other,
"but it was just magical to be in the same space, you know.
"And really sort of just enjoy each other's air.
"You know, we're sort of sitting there, both looking straight ahead,
"never communicating. It was just, you know, so nice.
"Neither of us left the room at all.
"I mean, I went up to go to the toilet.
"I needed a piss, I pretended I needed a shit
"just to have a longer break, to be honest with you.
"Sat in the toilet thinking what could have been,
"I could have ended up with someone I really loved.
"But that's not to be.
"I sort of compromised on my dreams because I don't want to die alone,
"and then you sort of think, 'OK, let's get back to the living room
"'and carry on the merry dance towards oblivion'.
"Thanks very much for asking".
Anyway, we watch TV. My wife likes Gogglebox.
Any fans of Gogglebox in? CHEERING
Sweet, you should be executed.
I cannot believe this programme exists.
It's the dumbest shit I've ever seen in my life.
As I'm watching it, I'm feeling my intellect dissolve like a Berocca.
I cannot believe this programme exists.
The first time I saw the advert for it, I opened the curtains
to see if I could see the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Do you know what I mean? We're watching people watch TV!
Are you shitting me?
Are you shitting on my face? We're watching people watch television?
And it's a thing. Wow!
No wonder Isis want to get us, man. On that alone, I'm with them, yeah.
Do it, mate. We watch Gogglebox. Take us out.
Imagine if you're making a programme that was difficult to make,
a TV show that was difficult to make, and it's being beaten
by Gogglebox in the ratings, how you would feel.
Imagine you pour your heart and soul into some drama,
you spent years working on the script.
You work on it, you polish it, you put it out there, then you go,
"Right, let's see how it's getting on.
"How's the drama doing in the ratings?"
"Well, it's doing all right."
"Why, what's it being beaten by?" "Well, it's being beaten by
"some people that are sitting watching the drama".
"Well, I think I'm going to go and punch myself in the face repeatedly,
"because that's basically what this process has been."
The biggest problem I've got about it is that it changes
my wife's expectations of how we should watch television.
Because of the way Gogglebox are. They're having a laugh,
and suddenly my wife thinks that's how we should be.
I know how we watch TV - just in your pants like Jabba the Hutt.
Just... IMITATES JABBA
Every so often, the screen goes dark, you catch your own reflection.
You're like, "Oh, fucking hell!"
That's how you watch TV, right?
But we're watching Gogglebox, and they're like,
"Banter, banter, banter, banter".
And my wife turns to me, and says, "Why is it not like this?
"Why is it not like this?"
I'll tell you why it's not like this - because we switched on the TV
so we don't have to talk to each other.
I mean, that is the whole point of television.
I think that is why it was invented, to be honest. I've got my phone
here, you're third in line in terms of my level of attention.
It's not my wife's fault that she's third in line,
it's just she's not as interesting as a phone.
And I'm not saying that as a slur on her, and neither are you.
None of you are as interesting... And neither am I.
Some of you have been looking at your phones while I've been on.
I don't blame you, they're very addictive.
The rest of you have just been going,
(IMITATES GOLLUM:) "Can't wait to check my messages.
"My precious!" I understand that.
Cos phones are incredible. They're amazing.
They're the most important things to us.
Who's an iPhone user in here?
Who's an Android phone user in here?
Aren't Android phone users pricks?
I hate them, I hate them, man.
I hate them.
They think they're part of some sort of alternative lifestyle,
these guys. They're so smug.
They think they are part of some sort of underground movement,
these pricks. You say to them, "You got an iPhone?"
"I think I'll make up my own mind about what phone I buy,
"thank you very much. I'm not a sheep."
You're not off the grid.
You haven't unplugged from the matrix
because you've bought a fucking Samsung.
All right? It's a massive company.
It's not a little family-owned business,
two brothers, Sam and Sung, set up a little market stall...
..In their front garden to knock out phones.
It's a massive company. You're not better than me.
My wife gets annoyed because she sees it as a personal insult that
I prefer looking at the phone to sometimes looking at her.
We've actually got proper quality time arranged,
do you know what I mean? Like, Andy's got the kids.
And we have...
We're sat at a table, having a meal.
Two tables down, there's a couple.
They're both looking at their phones.
My wife starts getting super-judgemental,
just looking across, like, "Oh, my God.
"Look at these two, look at these two.
"Look at these two!
"Come out, just looking at their phones."
"What is the point?
"What is the point of coming out if you're just going to
"look at your phones?
"They've not looked at each other, not looked at the menus.
"I don't know. Isn't that a shame? Isn't that a shame?
"It's such... Isn't that a shame.
"I just... HE TUTS
"Honestly, ten minutes I've been watching these two, and...
"They're just looking at their phones. What a waste of time!
"What's the point of coming out?
"Have you seen this...? Romesh.
"Romesh, put the phone down. Romesh!
"Romesh, Romesh, Romesh, Romesh, Romesh, Romesh.
"Put the phone... Romesh, Romesh, Romesh.
"Romesh, Romesh, Romesh, Romesh, Romesh, Romesh,
"Romesh, Romesh, Romesh. Romesh, Romesh, Romesh, Romesh,
"Romesh, Romesh, Romesh, Romesh, Romesh, Romesh...
"Have you seen these two looking at their phones?
"They're just looking at their phones the whole time.
"Isn't it a shame?" "No, it isn't.
"They're having a much better time than us.
"They're streamlining their entertainment,
"you're shouting my name like a nut-job."
I think the thing that I find the most annoying about Android
phone users is the fact they love - they LOVE -
talking about the battery life on the iPhone.
It's like a hobby for these guys.
"I imagine you're looking for a plug point."
Shut up, you twat.
"Day and a half, still on 37%."
That's because nobody fucking calls you, that's why.
Let me tell you something.
The shit battery life on the iPhone is the best thing about it.
Because I've got no willpower.
When that runs out, then I'll interact with my kids.
I'll be sat down the park with my kids, and I'll be like,
"Oh, shit, that's run out.
"Suppose I'd better see where they're going with those old men".
Ladies and gentlemen of the Apollo,
thank you so much for coming out tonight.
I really appreciate it. Thank you so much!
I'll see you next time.
My mum's over there somewhere. Hello, Mum.
That's my mum.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for coming out.
I'll see you next time.
I've been Romesh Ranganathan. Goodnight!
The BBC's Asian Provocateur Romesh Ranganathan performs his debut live stand-up show, recorded in front of a sell-out audience at London's Hammersmith Apollo.
The Bafta-nominated star takes shots at everyone, from his kids to a stranger in a coffee shop. This highly anticipated tour perfectly showcases his acerbic take on the world around him.