Ten Questions: Comedian inspired by children

After graduating from Georgetown University, international comedian Anand Chulani began performing stand-up comedy all around the world, from London to Hong Kong to the Comedy Store in La Jolla.

He has opened for comedians such as Arsenio Hall and Martin Lawrence, written for hit sitcoms on FOX and the BBC and acted in TV shows and movies. In addition, Chulani has created TV shows for the BBC and The Disney Channel based on his stand-up act.

Currently, Chulani is using his experience on stage to work with writers of shows such as “Friends” and “The Simpsons” to empower children all around the world to unite through laughter. Through a series of workshops called the Laugh Out Loud Method (LOL Method),

Chulani gives children tools and techniques they can employ to use laughter to boost self-confidence, resolve conflict and deepen relationships with their friends, family and teachers. So far, the LOL Method has reached thousands of children - from third-graders in Harlem to youth leaders in Palestine and Israel to, most recently, middle school children at Stella Maris Academy in La Jolla.

Chulani’s LOL Method has also been taught to adults who work with children such as teachers at the California Teachers Association.

What brought you to La Jolla?

I came to La Jolla originally to perform stand-up at the Comedy Store.

What keeps you in La Jolla?

I have been fortunate enough to have lived in cities like London, L.A., Mumbai (India) and New York. However, there is something about the warmth and close-knit community of La Jolla that I find refreshing. Coming from L.A., where communication between people is honking and screaming expletives, it’s heartening to be in a place where people actually connect, where there is an authentic level of caring, where family time is a way of life rather than a meeting in your schedule.

Who or what inspires you?

Children - their capacity to express joy, love and creativity never ceases to inspire me. My father for his love of learning, my mother for her incredible heart and compassion for people. My grandfathers for their leadership and discipline. Forest Whitaker for his integrity and humility. Michael Jackson for his unbelievable ability to entertain a worldwide audience. Robin Williams and Ellen DeGeneres for their courage to transform pain into joy and laughter for others. Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) for his impeccable comedic timing. Oprah Winfrey for her inner strength. Anthony Robbins for his ability to reach people and serve them. President Obama for his commitment to spreading hope. And my greatest sources of inspiration - Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi, who remind me of what is possible if you care for others.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Robin Williams, Mahatma Gandhi, President Obama, Mother Teresa, Oprah Winfrey, Princess Diana, William Shakespeare and Walt Disney.

What is the most difficult thing about being a comedian?

  1. Being the son of Indian parents who want you to be a lawyer or doctor!
  2. Being the grandson of an Indian grandmother who wants you to be a lawyer or doctor!
  3. Doing a professional show in front of an audience of three people - your mom, dad and grandma.
  4. The five minutes of nerves before performing in front of a crowd of 3,000 people in Hong Kong!

And the easiest?

Being on stage and knowing that your gift is to bring laughter to the lives of others.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading a few books - “New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle, “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and “Story” by Robert McKee.

What was your greatest accomplishment?

Laugh Out Loud. No sitcom or show has ever replaced the fulfillment of seeing kids experience the depth of their hearts and richness of their imaginations.

What is your motto?

“Regret from something you’ve done can be erased with time. Regret from something you haven’t done is eternal.” I believe that each day, each moment is a gift to help us learn, grow and contribute in some meaningful way to the lives of others.

Describe your perfect weekend.

On Friday, I would have dinner at Cafe Sevilla and enjoy the incredible live music with close friends. On Saturday, I would play basketball with my younger cousins (and actually win :) and then take them to SeaWorld! On Sunday, I would box and meditate at Law Beach in PB (Pacific Beach), journal and do some writing at Wired Cafe in UTC and then watch a stunning sunset in La Jolla.