Soundtrack Of My Life: Romesh Ranganathan

Stand-up comedian and upstanding gent

The first song I remember hearing

Boney M – ‘Brown Girl In The Ring’

“It’s a really shit song. My recollection of my mum and dad’s parties is that they’d invite loads of Sri Lankan people over and they’d always play it. They’d start off with disco and pass around beers all the time and play songs like that.”

The first song I fell in love with

Michael Jackson – ‘Working Day And Night’

“I really got into Michael Jackson. I bought the VHS of ‘Michael Jackson’s Thriller’ and on that video, in the making-of documentary, they were playing ‘Working Day And Night’ off the previous album, ‘Off The Wall’. I preferred that song to anything else on there; I preferred it to ‘Thriller’. I really loved that song for some reason.”

The first album I bought

Prince – ‘Batman ‘

“I got it from Woolworths in Crawley, because I had heard ‘Batdance’. You know Prince did that whole album? I think ‘Batdance’ might have been possibly the worst song on it. I mean, I love ‘Lemon Crush’ but there were some really shit songs on there. There are songs that were scandalous but I’m speaking ill of the dead.”

The first gig I went to

Salt-n-Pepa at Crawley Leisure Centre

“It was really good. I don’t remember any other gigs happening at Crawley Leisure Centre; it has been knocked down now, sadly. I don’t know why they did it there – there was a theatre up the road but they played in the Leisure Centre. They did ‘Push It’ and I remember thinking that was a really rude song. I remember Salt singing, “Put your hands on your head… but not that head!” and everyone laughing.”

The song that made me want to perform

Public Enemy – ‘Fight The Power’

“It was just so exciting. I remember them saying something about Elvis being a racist and being blown away by the fact that they said that. It was a song of empowerment and it made me wish I could do something like that.”

The song that changed my life

Arctic Monkeys – ‘Brianstorm’

“When I started doing stand-up, I had a regular gig and that was the song that they used to play before they’d put you on. That was around when I started to get paid for stand-up and when I was able to leave teaching. Whenever I hear that song, it always reminds me of when I realised, ‘Oh shit, I can actually make it as a comic.’”

The song I can no longer listen to

Stevie Wonder – ‘Part-Time Lover’

“When my wife went in to labour and had our first son, I remember rushing to the hospital and ‘Part-Time Lover’ was playing in the car but I was losing my shit. Now I can’t listen to it, because it reminds me of that panic, that horror and that feeling. It really makes me feel physically horrible.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Luis Fonsi – ‘Despacito’

“I don’t think I want it to be sad; I sort of want them to listen to something that might pick them up a bit. So I think I would have ‘Despacito’.”

Romesh: Comedians In A Caff Talking Growing Up is available to watch on BBC Three’s iPlayer channel now