Opinion: Eshaan Akbar On His Number One Supporter & Most Fun Audience Member

Eshaan Akbar has become a familiar name on the comedy circuit in the last few months. He has featured in finals of various competitions and he won the Piccadilly Comedy Club New Comedian of the Year 2016 in January. Yesterday marked two years since Akbar did his first live stand-up gig. He has written this touching piece below about the most important woman in his life. We thought it would be appropriate to run it on Mother's Day.







Two years ago yesterday, I set foot in a basement of a pub in Liverpool Street (Dirty Dicks) to perform my first 5 minutes of stand-up comedy.

Last night, I opened with a 20-minute set at Folkestone Comedy Club alongside Ian Lane and Andrew Maxwell.

When I embarked on stand-up, I had no particular dreams or aspirations. In fact, I wanted to perform 10 times and be able to say at parties "I did stand-up once."

Then the worst month of my life in May saw me lose the most important woman in my life. And, simply, I never wanted to be home.

Going to gigs gave me something to do that didn't involve me crying or looking helplessly for her. To engage with people who didn't know my mother. To do something that had nothing to do with her.

I performed only once in front of her - the Golden Jester semi-final. She saw me go through to the final and, in the car on the way home, I asked her what she thought. "I always knew you were funny but stand up is different and, you know what, you're very good." I was beaming. After a pause, she remarked "but you look really fat on stage". And, after a further pause, she said, "but then, people like a fat comedian. Less threatening."

And that is it. My mum was my number one supporter, my worst heckler and my most fun audience member. I loved making her laugh more than anyone - it was full of heart, joy and delight. People would know she was in the room just by hearing her laughter from miles away.

I cannot thank comedy enough for everything it has given me in these two years. Some of the most memorable moments of my life have come in the last two years. The friends I have made, the people I have met and the laughs I have had - both onstage and off.

It hasn't been easy. On many an occasion, I have found myself wiping away a tear or two just as I say my first words into the microphone. The moment when, two weeks after her death, I performed in the same venue she saw me perform that one and only time. I thought I saw her sitting there in the same seat and stumbled on my words. Those long drives alone where previously, pretty much every drive I had was with her beside me and us singing songs together to keep each other awake.

But more than anything, it has enabled me to continue my mother's legacy of wanting to entertain people - she was an outstanding cook and storyteller. And in that sense, it keeps me close to her.

I don't know what the future holds for me - no one does - but I am thankful and grateful for what it has given me to date. All I know is that I want comedy to remain a part of my life forever. And I am doing my best to make that a possibility.

Thank you for being a part of my journey so far. I hope you remain and see where this whole ridiculousness will end up.

And I know. I still look fat on stage.


Eshaan Akbar plays HaLOL Comedy on 10 March. He is supporting Dane Baptiste on tour on 12, 18, 19 March and is at Piccadilly Comedy Club on 26 March. Follow Eshaan Akbar on Twitter @eshaanakbar


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