How Airbnb Satisfies a Stand-Up Comic’s Inner Mick Jagger

Tales of life on the road. Powered by Airbnb.  
Big cities are perfect for splurging on a plush penthouse Airbnb, if only for the stellar night views. This is the glittering vista of the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore. Photo: aotaro/Flickr/Creative Commons (http://bit.ly/1jxQJMa)
Big cities are perfect for splurging on a plush penthouse Airbnb, if only for the stellar night views. This is the glittering vista of the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore. Photo: aotaro/Flickr/Creative Commons (http://bit.ly/1jxQJMa)

As a touring stand-up comic, I spend a lot of time on the road. When I tell people about my extensive tour schedules, they often look at me with an envious glint in their eye, marvelling at how much I “get to travel”. The grass is always greener, is my standard reply. My life on the road pretty much follows the same series of stops: from home to airport to hotel, to venue to hotel to airport, and onwards to the next city. When I spend more than one day in a new city, I have little-to-no inclination to get out and explore. Touring isn’t a vacation, and I spend most of my time writing, rehearsing, or snoozing to build up energy for the show ahead. This makes the quality of my accommodation crucial.

For the most part, I tend to pick more functional Airbnbs for work—a comfortable and cosy property with good Wi-Fi and a coffee shop close by fits the bill most times. That said, I am also an artist, and we tend to be vain creatures. So once in a while, when I’m on tour abroad, I allow my inner Mick Jagger to take over, and spend on lavish accommodation—to be found in abundance on Airbnb. I pick the kind of places you’d associate with after-parties from Hollywood movies, so that I can pretend, for a few nights at least, that I’m a far more successful version of myself.

Give the mundane a miss, and pick a quirky Airbnb the next time you’re travelling. After all, the number one purpose of a vacation is to try new things. Photo courtesy Airbnb

Give the mundane a miss, and pick a quirky Airbnb the next time you’re travelling. After all, the number one purpose of a vacation is to try new things. Photo courtesy Airbnb

I was bitten by this particular bug on my first trip to Singapore. Having worked on-set at a gruelling event for three nights straight, with essentially no sleep, I thought I’d be reward myself with a few nights of the good life. I usually turn the budget slider on Airbnb all the way down when I’m looking for a crash pad, but not this time. I salivated over dozens of fancy apartments across the city. In a few hours, I’d found just what I was looking for: a private room on a 42nd-storey penthouse in the financial district, just a few kilometres down the road from the Marina Bay Sands. My hosts were a young couple and their adorable Schnauzer. I’d spend my time lounging around on a new section of the couch every day, sipping on coffee from a designer machine, before heading out to earn a few dollars on stage. If the show went well, me and my comic friends would come back and spend the evening listening to music in the balcony with a couple of beers, watching the blur of traffic below, with the Singapore skyline glimmering blue, green and yellow, as far as the eye could see.

Leaving that snazzy Airbnb was a bitter-sweet experience. I was sad to be letting go of my penthouse view, but at the same time, it also had an oddly motivational effect on me. These occasional luxuries seem to stir my ambition, making me want to do more, so maybe I can afford to permanently live in a house like that. Not that I’d ever be able to afford property prices in Mumbai, but it’s nice to dream. Airbnb’s got me covered when I wake up.

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    Azeem Banatwalla is a stand-up comic and humour writer. He can often be spotted scrounging for plug-points in coffee shops, or wandering sleepily through airports across the country.

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