Sangam Festival

Focus on… Romesh Ranganathan

Name: (Jonathan) Romesh Ranganathan

South Asian heritage: British Sri Lankan

Profession: Comedian and TV presenter

Childhood: Born in Crawley, West Sussex, his heritage is Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu. Age nine, he performed his first stand-up routine at a talent show at Pontin’s.

Early career: Educated at Birkbeck College, University of London, where he studied maths, before becoming a maths teacher at schools in Crawley and Banstead.

Out of school hours, he performed as a freestyle rapper and stand-up comedian.

Comedy, presenting and acting career: As well as appearing on the comedy circuit and BBC1’s Live at the Apollo, Romesh Ranganathan has appeared regularly on TV in one-off specials and comedy shows, panel shows, documentary series and as an actor. His TV credits include: Rob & Romesh Vs…, Romesh: Talking to Comedians, The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan, Judge Romesh, Just Another Immigrant, The Ranganation, King Gary and Avoidance (which he also co-created and co-wrote). In 2021, he took over as presenter of BBC1’s The Weakest Link.

Podcast: His comedy podcast about hip-hop is available on his website:

What’s next?: Currently touring with his stand-up show, The Cynic’s Mixtape (1 – 4 August 2022), Romesh will be the voice of ‘Nick’ in Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, due out in 2023.

Books: He has followed the success of his bestselling memoir Straight Outta Crawley: Memoirs of a Distinctly Average Human Being (2018) with a hilarious dissection of adulthood: As Good As It Gets: Life Lessons from a Reluctant Adult (2020).


  • 2018: Broadcast Digital Awards, nominated for Best Short Form Comedy for Romesh: Talking to Comedians
  • 2020: RTS Television Award, winner Presenter, for The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan
  • 2021: RTS Television Award, nominated for Entertainment Performance for Rob & Romesh Vs…
  • 2021: BAFTA TV Award winner for Best Entertainment Performance for The Ranganation

In an interview for ‘My Life in Food’ in National Geographic magazine, Romesh, who is vegan, said: “My mum’s a great cook. I grew up eating bucketloads of South Indian and Sri Lankan food,” – and he mentioned that he particularly enjoys the Sri Lankan dish coconut sambal.

You can read the full interview here:

A recipe for coconut sambal can be found here: