What do you get when you mix a doctor with a comedian? No, not a load of medical jokes, you get Paul Sinha, the British-Indian comedian who has spent the last few years climbing the comedy ladder and earning a fair amount of critical plaudits en route. You perhaps know him best as 'the funny one', from ITV's much loved quiz show, The Chase, but Paul is a seasoned pro on the stand up circuit, cracking up clubs across the globe with his self-deprecating style. The comedian - who has appeared over recent years in such TV such as ‘Edinburgh and Beyond’, ‘World Stands up’, ‘Comedy Shuffle’ and ‘Comedy Cuts’ is a very busy man, so we jumped at the chance to get inside the mind of Britain's best comedy-quizzer, read on to hear Paul's thoughts on GB's Olympic success, his passion for quizzing and the question we all wanted to know; who would win a chaser quiz-off?
Hi Paul, how are you, have you had a good summer?
It has been a brilliant summer, thanks. I have spent it either gigging, travelling, or engorging on an amazing summer of sport. Autumn finds me in a great mood.
Following on from your 'Sinha Games' broadcast on BBC Radio 4, how were the 2012 Games for you? Any highlights?
I realised some time ago the degree to which the Olympics and the Paralympics were going to be a once in a lifetime occasion. So I threw caution to the wind, spent lots of hard earned money on seeing as many things as possible. It was remarkable, unique in the way opinions were almost universally positive. As for the highlight, being at the Olympic Stadium watching Jessica Ennis start her heptathlon in such electrifying style was truly memorable. Sheffield should fight for her right to be canonized.
You will be playing at Sheffield Memorial Hall this October as part of the Last Laugh Festival – What can audiences expect from your appearance?
“Last Christmas” is a new show that I wrote with the festival in mind. For anyone who has seen any of my previous shows, it continues in the gag driven storytelling style that I have previously brought to the festival, and looks at life, death and love through the lens of a lovelorn “Gaysian” doctor/comedian/professional quizzer.
People will know you best as one of the Chasers on ITV's The Chase, how did you become a Chaser?
I have been taking part in high level quizzes for a number of years, fulfilling a childhood dream to take it seriously. As a result I had met the other three Chasers on several occasions, and it was my good fortune that when a gap became available, they recommended me. I consider myself blessed, because I really love the show.
You're a trained GP, how did the move from medicine to comedy come about?
The move from medicine to comedy was a gradual one. I spent many years doing both jobs pretty much full time, but as age started to set in and the bones grew wearier, it became apparent I was going to have to make a choice. Carpe diem, as Robin Williams once said.How would you define your style of comedy?
It is hard to describe your own style, but luckily I have been reviewed many times. Self-deprecating storytelling appears to be a phrase often used, and I think it is correct. I would stress though that I have always had proper jokes as well!
How has your Indian heritage informed your material, if at all?
Your heritage always informs your humour, particularly with this new show, as many of the tales are of my own family. But it would be wrong to say that I am a stereotypical “Asian comedian”. My background is a very specific medicine dominated West Bengal background, with its own idiosyncrasies.
You're also a dedicated quizzer – what comes first, quizzing or comedy?
My television quiz career is temporary. I am realistic enough to know that. Comedy is the dream, comedy is the reason that I am where I am.
You've worked on radio and television alongside your stand-up career, covering a variety of topics – what have been some of your highlights?
I am quite a shallow man. My highlights have really been the opportunity to work with or simply to meet people whom I already admired. Being a massive Liverpool FC fan, I have been starstruck by meeting Jamie Redknapp and Dietmar Hamann. But working with Stewart Lee, one of my comedy heroes, on two of his television shows has been the big highlight.
Who would win a general knowledge quiz between the Chasers?
We get asked that a lot. The honest answer is that we all have our own strengths and weaknesses and it would depend on the format of the quiz.
What are your plans for the future?
I have never been one to plan too far ahead. I am looking forward to fulfilling one of my big life dreams to watch England versus India at Eden Gardens Kolkata in December. Other than that my plans involve drinking less, losing weight and learning more facts on my weak subjects.