Mickey Sharma, one of the comedians performing in There’s Something Funny in the Honey, was kind enough to meet us in the pub at our local the Anchor in Digbeth.
Firstly, do you know any of the other comedians involved?
I know James Cook very well as we both live in Kings Heath. James’ recommendation was enough for me to get involved in this good cause. I do know some of the other comics but I have not seen them for a while, I’ve not seen Joe Lycett or Karen Bayley for about a year.
What made you get involved in stand up comedy?
I came to Britain from India ten years ago when I was 19. I always thought I was funny and watched a show called ”Kings of Comedy” which was a revelation to me, as there was virtually no stand up comedy in India. The possibility of making a living from being a comedian was opened up to me. I was at South Birmingham College (just down the road from the Warehouse) and there was a showcase of comedy. I thought I’d give it a go, but it went disastrously wrong. That put me off for five years
Eventually I got the courage to start again. I took various part time jobs including being a bouncer and a camera assistant. I wanted to become famous like Ricky Gervais via a TV show, hence the camera. When I turned 26 I read Frank Skinner’s book and took inspiration. Skinner did not turn pro until he was 30 and his was an example I could follow. My first proper gig was on the 1st of July 2009 a 5 minute set that was poor, but in hindsight was a good learning experience.
How did that lead into making comedy a profession?
I stopped being a bouncer and got a job as a receptionist in a gym. This gave me the evenings free to perform. I gigged at the Roadhouse in Stirchley for a month as a way to practice. I then took part in the King Gong show. The King Gong show is brutal, the crowd is amongst the toughest out there. I survived a set on the show, making me believe that I belonged. I have appeared on it six times and I have won it. Winning it raises your profile, you get a professional standard DVD that helps you impress promoters. I won a few other awards as well. I’ve been fully pro for about 3 months and it is going well so far.
What brought you to Birmingham?
I wanted to play cricket in India. I was playing in the nets and I decided to play without a helmet for the first time. The first delivery I faced cracked my skull. My skull still has a massive dent in it. I had an uncle in Boston who told me to do a course in Birmingham so I moved over from New Delhi. It was a big upheaval in my life. I had to change my own light bulbs.
I love Kings Heath, it is such a varied place with so many communities intertwined so many faiths and there is a lot going on. Birmingham does have an advantage of being central. It means that it is easy to get North or South as comedians travel all over the place. Britain is really small.
Do you know anything about environmental issues?
I know about climate change, the proof is there because the ice caps are melting. Relating to the gig I do know that bees are important too. I always remember the Eddie Izzard routine “I’m covered in bees.” Lots of food is pollinated by bees so we need to protect them. I try to help out the environment in small ways like turning the tv off standby, turning lights off when I leave the room. Not only for environmental reasons, but also because it is expensive to waste stuff. I also take public transport where I can, especially for longer trips. The coach or train is going there anyway, so by using it rather than a car I am helping not use more than I have to.