Starting with the least amount of followers to winning Social Currency, comedian-influencer Aakash Mehta discusses his anxiety about being on the show
Despite doing comedy for over a decade, Aakash Mehta confesses that he has not achieved as much as his fellow comedians have in the field. While still anxious, the comedian signed up for Netflix’s Social Currency and “hoped I wouldn’t get kicked out in 21 days”. Not only did he not get kicked out, but Mehta went on to win the show. However, he still doesn’t believe that he is an influencer. “I have never [been] an influencer; I cannot influence anybody. Influencers are a medium for selling products. I tell jokes. I have [promoted] stuff, but I don’t think anyone is buying it because of me,” he jokes.
Mehta shares that the production team did not pitch Social Currency as a reality show. “From the start, they called it a social experiment,” which peaked his interest. Ask him if the experiment was successful or not, and the comedian says that he took a lot away from it. “Initially, it felt like a paid vacation, but very quickly the tasks came. The challenges kept getting tougher. At some point, I could feel all of us getting into the competitive zone. The [stay] was insightful for me. It was a big confidence booster. I feed off the energy of the people around me. If the seven people were not on the same wavelength as me, it would have been a big hit to my confidence. In the house, I was worried. I felt the most unfunny I have ever felt in my life,” he shares. Mehta claims that he did things he never thought he would have to, which often peaked his anxiety levels. In fact, in his first challenge, he had a panic attack but overcame the feeling with help of the team.
“Convincing real people to do things is not my strong suit. I am socially awkward and have extreme anxiety. On stage, I am fine; off stage, I cannot even make eye contact. I feel all the tasks were difficult considering I was also the least well-known person in the show,” says Mehta. He says that he makes jokes on people who he knows can be a sport about it. In the house, the comedian believes that fellow contestant Mridhul Madhok was someone who could take it in his stride. “Any kind of joke in India is as good as roasting; people don’t know the difference. I make fun of my comedian friends on stage, and they are in on it, but in this house it was a little difficult. Mridul is the closest [person] to that comic temperament because he has this ‘I don’t give a f#@k [attitude]. I don’t know if it is Mridul or Delhi,” says Mehta, who is now gearing up for his stand-up special, Nasty.