Meet Sumukh Torgalkar, the other half of the sagattack.com – a website he collaborates on with fellow comedian and long-time pal, Justin Golak. You may have also seen Sumukh performing at Wild Goose Creative’s “Monday Night Live,” a sketch and variety show on the first Monday of every month. He recently told me about how he got started in comedy, what he hopes to be doing in the future and what he has coming up later this month. You can see him perform the stage show “Sumukh Torgalkar and Friends…Who Look A Lot Like Sumukh Torgalkar.” It is April 28 at 9 pm at Kafe Kerouac. The show brings together Sumukh and all the characters that he has created for the comedy scene’s Halloween shows or “Monday Night Live” shows. Keep reading to find out more.
Q: Tell me about your personal and professional background. Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio – specifically in North Olmsted, a West Side suburb. I’ve lived in Columbus for almost five years now. I like Columbus because it has a great feel. It is a vibrant and relaxing city with a wonderful mix of people and places to check out.
I went to college at Miami University. I studied English-Literature. I now work in marketing, so as you can see, that degree worked effectively.
Q: What do you think about the local comedy scene in Columbus?
A: The local comedy scene in Columbus is great. It was an excellent place for me to start doing comedy and I’m proud to have been part of building such a fantastic scene over the past five years. It is healthy in that everyone is encouraging and positive towards each other. I think our goals are to continue to get the word out to Columbus that they have a talented group of comedians in this city and great shows going on a weekly basis.
Q: What got you interested in comedy?
A: I’ve always loved comedy from a young age, so that got me interested. I always thought I’d be a viewer of comedy, and that I never would actually perform it. I wanted to be a writer, so I thought I would put comedy in anything that I wrote, but the idea of performing is something I just tried because I appreciated comedy so much, and then it turned out that crowds were enjoying what I was doing on stage and I wanted to keep doing it because I love it.
Q: What types of comedy do you do?
A: I do stand-up comedy primarily. I also do sketch comedy. My longtime friend and comedy collaborator, Justin Golak and I have a website, www.sagattack.com. At the site, we put up video sketches and write comedy blog entries. I also do live sketches as part of a group of comedians who perform at “Monday Night Live,” which is a show on the first Monday of every month at Wild Goose Creative.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: It’s strange perhaps, but I sometimes find the most inspiration from reading about other artists. If I read a biography by a performer or listen to an interview with him or her, their philosophies or experiences as an artist can be very motivating to write or create art. For example, I recently read Jay-Z’s book, “Decoded” and his viewpoints about music and show business in general really made me want to work even harder. So, sometimes, it’s not even comedy as much as it is philosophy that can inspire me to sit down and start writing.
Q: Tell me your favorite joke!
A: In general: I think if I had to pick my favorite joke by a well-known comedian, it would be Patton Oswalt’s “Physics for Poets” joke. It’s hilarious and I can relate to it as an English major and fan of pop culture.
As for my own jokes, I loved to tell this joke about how I foretold the death of the actor Karl Malden to some co-workers. I like it because it combines randomness, ridiculousness, and pop culture into one joke so I enjoy telling it and crowds have laughed a lot at it. I also used to be a one-liner comedian, but this was the first joke that opened the door for me to feel comfortable writing longer bits and making my act more about absurdity in my own life, which is what I do now on stage. I don’t perform the joke as much anymore since it has aged and I’ve written a lot more since 2009 when Malden passed away, but the joke has a special place in my heart.
Q: Do you have any favorite comedians?
A: Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Newhart, and Rodney Dangerfield are a few of of my early favorites because they were really my first introduction to stand-up comedy. Over time, I’ve really liked Chris Rock, Norm MacDonald, and the British comedian Rowan Atkinson.
Q: What are some of your goals for yourself?
A: I’d love to be a successful stand-up comedian and tour or to venture off into comedy writing in some way either in television, film, or literature. I also would enjoy doing the type of stage show that I will be doing at the end of the month as a tour one day.
Q: Tell me about your upcoming show.
A: It’s called “Sumukh Torgalkar and Friends…Who Look A Lot Like Sumukh Torgalkar.” It is April 28 at 9 pm at Kafe Kerouac. It is a stage show that brings together me and all the characters that I have created for the comedy scene’s Halloween shows or at “Monday Night Live.” They include characters such as a historian/biographer, a freelance celebrity obituary writer, and a British thespian who is passionate about both the works of Shakespeare and Ke$ha. You can check out the Facebook event for more information.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: I’d just like to say that even if you cannot make it to my show, and you have never been out to see a local show, please do so and support our great Columbus comedy scene. You can check out all the information on our upcoming shows and some of the comedians in our scene at www.columbusisfunny.com.