Stand-up comic Kunal Rao: I go through a mid-life crisis once a decade

Updated: Oct 22, 2019, 08:28 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

Stand-up comic Kunal Rao on how his latest series, Done, draws humour from an existential phase

Kunal Rao
Kunal Rao

"I go through a mid-life crisis once a decade," laughs Kunal Rao. If the average man struggles with existential questions in such a scenario, the stand-up comedian comes up with answers, and sparkling ones, at that. Rao describes his latest offering, Done, as the "result of his second mid-life crisis". A departure from his style of comedy, the series taps into his philosophical side to bring in the laughs.

"It is a culmination of the last few years of going through a chaotic period and finding myself asking existential questions — what it means to be happy, and what is my true focus. I have written this show hoping that we can do comedy around serious subjects as well, like philosophy and psychology. Usually, comedies are supposed to be bright and happy, but this is relaxed and intimate. I imagine someone pouring a glass of whisky, kicking back on the couch, and watching the show," says Rao of the series that dropped on Amazon Prime last week.

Born in Mumbai, Rao jokingly describes himself as having been a "full-on townie brat" who spoke "with a half-airport accent." A four-year stint in chartered accountancy in London and Dubai later, he found his calling in stand-up comedy. "I wanted to be a rockstar when I was 18. I still don't play any instrument, though. So this [stand-up] comes closest to it. I enjoy the validation from the crowd, one that I never got from my parents," he grins.

Quiz him about the time stand-up comedy took a sharp turn at the political curb a few years back, and he says he's done his share of political humour. "You evolve as a comic and end up discovering what you enjoy talking about. I'm fascinated by the expansive world of human emotion. These are things we don't talk about much."

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