Stand-up comics on how to stay funny in this big bad world

Jan 26, 2016, 09:03 IST | Dhara Vora

Life is tough. Get through it by being a sport. Stand-up artistes tell you how to get cracking

Sorabh Pant

How tough is it?
I think people need to put themselves in a competitive space to let things not affect you. I come from a boy’s school where I played sports as a kid. So, you are used to things being said about you. After school, I was in media, which was again a competitive space. And being a known face on the Internet, I am used to people calling me ‘takla saala’. But it doesn’t affect me today because I have had far worst in school. Sport is a great way to get around. I had once gone for a performance at a women’s college and the kind of language I saw their volleyball team using was shocking for me even as a professional stand-up artiste! But there is a fine line between harassment and humour, as there are topics such as religion and sexism. And if someone is doing it repeatedly it is different.

How do you get away with humour?
I am bald and a weird looking guy, so I always make jokes about myself, as I know it is going to come on me sometime. I used to do that all day at my office earlier. You have to be self-assured. When you make self-deprecating jokes, and then make jokes about others they know you are just being silly. This works in a workplace and I do it at my performances too. I can then make jokes about the audience. I do that all the time.

Are Indians too serious?
It is all hogwash that Indians are serious. It is political, and not just due to any one party. There is somebody always waiting in the wings to do something.

@hankypanty on twitter
I like how because of Bhupendra Chaube being an a**, people are now expecting Mastizaade to be Mother India.

Guys, I’m less keen to find out Bose’s whereabouts. More keen on anyone declassifying info on Dhoni’s form.

Radhika Vaz
How tough is it to laugh at one self?
Very difficult. Nobody loves having fun poked at him or her. I studied at a boarding school where nobody cares about you so it is easy for me to do that though. But one has to make a conscious decision — like not smoking or not eating cake after 7 pm. You have to love yourself. It is difficult as some people are more serious. But sometimes, it is necessary to be serious too.

How do you get away with cracking a personal joke, at home or office?
Please don’t make jokes about your boss; it’s off the table. If it’s your mum or dad or spouse, even if they have a glimmer of humour, you can get away with it. It is not always up to you though. You have to be nuanced. For example, my mother-in-law is very religious; the whole day is all about thanking god or asking god for something. From where she is coming from, it would not be easy for me to crack a joke on religion. But with my close friends, I can do this, as they know their faith is stronger than my joke. So, it depends from person to person on how you take things.

Is it more difficult for women to be out of the ordinary?
It definitely is. It all comes from the want of a man. You are constantly told to get a man, get married and have children. It is difficult to go against the conditioning.

Are Indians too serious?
I think it is mostly a political motive. The common man isn’t too serious, how would you live in this mess, people are getting by because they laugh. The politicians don’t care what happens and they are just operating on their own. It is all about law and order and how much can you bend it when it comes to bans and people being offended.

@radvazon twitter
Any1 can be a comedian U dont have to be young, goodlooking or rich The opposite of what you have to be to get laid.

I find sexist jokes funny. It’s actual sexists I find repulsive. There is a difference.

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