On International Joke Day, 7 popular Indian stand-up comedians reveal jokes that worked for them and those that didn't
My all-time favourite: Having a sense of humour is of utmost importance. Humour is what balances our life. A joke that has always stayed with me is by George Carlin on how stupid we are. Think of how stupid the average person is and then think that half the word is dumber than him.
It's so funny, it hurts: I think most jokes about your relationships tend to be in that zone. When you were in the middle of it all, you were tortured but, after it's over, it's all good. The number of fights my wife and I have had, invariably, make it to my show. Also, the number of sleepless nights we've spent courtesy my son. And, while it's happening, you are tearing your hair out. This explains why I have no hair. And post the event, I talk about how ridiculous this whole thing is and why babies keep you awake all night. That joke is one of the biggest laughs in my new show about my baby.
Power of funny: I came across this joke while studying humour in college; there was a section on humour in hell or humour in times of great duress. Hitler visits a fortune teller and asks , 'What day will I die?' Fortune teller says, 'A Jewish holiday.' So, Hitler asks, 'Which Jewish holiday?' and he replies, 'Any day you die will be a Jewish holiday'. Humour is the great power that we have over situations that we are powerless to deal with. I have read that even in concentration camps, comedians would perform for people and even the Gestapo.
The 'Oops' moment: I have this joke that I crack because I find children under 20 with political opinion very annoying. Once, as soon as I said, 'I wish the father had accepted a ****', a couple and their daughter in the front seat started laughing like crazy. It was only a few moments later when they stopped and realised the awkwardness of the situation, and were shocked into silence. The father left for the washroom. I think he never returned.
The bad-ass joke you cracked? Though no one has taken offense to this joke, they could have. The music during Ganpati visarjan is so loud that at one point, even Ganpati says, 'Calm down guys, my ears are pretty big, you know. Please just stop. Okay, just drown me, I've had enough!'
When did you realise you were funny? In boarding school, when I would talk back to my teachers and my classmates would laugh. I was willing to do anything to get a laugh; including getting thrown out of the class. I had no pride. Still don't. I think it's my most important trait as a comedian!
When no one laughed? Recently, I went to apply for a Swiss visa and an old Indian uncle was at the counter. He did not know the procedure. They have glass windows with names of countries like Switzerland and Austria, with a young lady at the desk. So, he kept shouting at one of the glass windows, 'Has Switzerland moved to France?' I said, 'Switzerland has gone to have lunch' because the lady was not at her desk. He looked at me like I was an idiot and exclaimed, 'How can Switzerland just go like that!'