The alarm goes off at 6 am in the morning. But it doesn’t really matter because I was up all night staring at my phone waiting for the alarm to go off. Insomnia, mad amounts of caffeine and acute depression, all played their part really well.
If you spoke to any of my friends then, they’d tell you a story of ‘how I was taking my life down the drain with stupid decisions’, and they couldn’t be more right. Life really could’ve gone anywhere from there, but stand up comedy happened.
I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a long time so here it is.
I remember my first experience of watching stand up comedy was on this TV channel called Star One that doesn’t even exist now. Raju Srivastav, in a brown suit, was doing an impression of Shahrukh Khan buying mangoes in a crowded Delhi market. When I saw that, I wasn’t sure how it worked. How someone could just stand there and say stuff while people lost their shit. Especially that shit fuck Navjot Singh Siddhu who is single-handedly responsible for new kinds of sardar stereotypes being born, as if the already existing ones weren’t good enough.
Even when I started doing stand up comedy, I thought it was all about telling jokes and being that funny guy on stage. I’d be lying if I said that fame wasn’t on the agenda. To be honest, fame was the only agenda.
But after numerous bombings and 3 killings maybe, ISIS is set to launch a counter offensive against the allied forces trying to take over the strategic town of Mosul.
But bombings teach you a lot. From being an egoistic prick, the journey of self-acceptance began. When you tank in front of 30 random people at a coffee shop for the first time, you think you’ll come back better the next time. But when the trend continues for two straight months, you reach a point where you say, ‘Fuck dude, I know nothing.’
That I think is the day you’ve taken your first step towards becoming a stand up comic. And in the process you end up becoming a better person. Or at least I did. To a neutral (and to many comics) stand up comedy might just be going up on stage and saying/doing funny shit. But to me it is a journey of accepting your flaws and insecurities.
We all have an image of how we are as people in our heads. Which in most cases is actually very different to the person we are. Like pulling in that belly fat a little in front of the mirror, covering that pimple in the selfie, or behaving like a nice guy when you actually are a cunt inside. All our lives we run from this because we are afraid to accept who we are as people.
Tanking in open mics, however, takes that fear away from you. Because when you’ve made a fool out of yourself in front of random people again and again, you lose the fear of making the fool out of yourself because guess what, now you’ve accepted you’re a fool. Once you’ve accepted that you have flaws, you are no longer afraid to face the real you. And instead of hiding from it in every way possible, you see yourself and start making amends.
It’s been 18 months since this journey began. I’m not a stand up comic yet. I’m just a guy that goes on stage and tells people average jokes. I might become a stand up comic in a few years maybe. But in these 18 months, I’ve learnt more about myself than in the rest of the 21 years (which for all I know might be 70 percent of my total life) of my life.
I cannot speak for my jokes but I sure am a better person now than when I started off with stand up comedy. And for that, I’d like to say, thank you, stand up comedy. 🙂