An author, blogger, podcaster, satirist, radio show host and a stand-up comedian; for Andy Zaltzman, every moment of his life is touched by cricket, from his wife to the birth of his son, which he calls the most important catch of his life. It’s cricket that keeps the young-at-heart Zaltzman going great gunsat 40. The writer-turned-stand-up comedian is in India to bowl a few funny bouncers, over four days at the Canvas LaughFactory.
For those who haven’t heard or seen him, Zaltzman looks more like an overweight girl with long curly hair that spring off his balding head like an Italian fountain. But then looks were never a strong point for this sporting critic known for his columns on ESPN Cricinfo -- The Confectionary Stall and his podcast The Buggle among several other things like being an overtly confident mediocre cricketer. “I am a grinding opening batsman -- a bit Gary Kirsten-like, I confess -- and a dangerously incompetent fielder,” he says.
He is looking forward to his shows in India, a country, which he claims, provides the maximum fodder for his cricket jokes. “Cricket in India is fascinating, with the depth and passion of the public love for the sport, and the competing demands at work since the advent of the IPL.
There is some interesting comedic territory in it,” he reveals. Ask him for the cricketer, and pat comes the reply: “Gary Kirsten. He nearly broke up my relationship with the woman who is now my wife and the mother of my children. I took her to watch an England vs South Africa Test in 1998. Kirsten scored 210 in 11 hours. It was so remorselessly tedious that it made me examine my life, and the purpose of existence. I will never forgive him for that innings.”
Over the years, Zaltzman has survived turbulent financial conditions; boring cricket matches, angry wife, joblessness and everything else that he sees as apocalyptic through his comic take on cricket. After writing blogs, doing a stand-up show that involves cricket was a natural development for the comedian. But is cricket funny at all, we ask. “Being an England fan in the late 1980s would force you to develop a sense of humour about cricket,” he replies.
Fortunately, for Zaltzman and his fans, things haven’t changed much, as English cricket continue to amaze the stand-up comedian even now. Ask him what is the funniest thing about English cricket, and he replies: “The 324-strong back-room team; Stuart Broad’s appealing; and the fact that England are a good team, which, to someone of my generation, is a sure-fire sign of impending global apocalypse.”