Thank you, stand up comedy

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.

Sorry. :p

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. 🙂

Advertisements

Strange Stuff: Vol. 1

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog. Not because I had other shit to do, or I’ve been too busy. It’s just that with every blog that I wrote, my chances of getting laid were going down. Although not writing a blog for a while didn’t help either. But I feel good in my head. I’ve eliminated the major possibility. It’s like my placebo.

So I’ve been doing open mics for a while now. 10 months. It’s been fun. But apart from the jokes that I say on stage, there are certain things that happen on and off stage that fascinate me. Now to me, it is very funny. So I thought I’ll start blogging about those things.

Now, why can’t I write it in a diary? Because it is not fucken 1945! Any person you meet in this day and age who writes in a diary is a fucken psychopath. There is no way a sane man writes weird stuff about his day in a diary now. Because these days we write a lot of it in a book. Facebook.

Moving on!

I figured I’ll blog about it because as of now, my blog is as good as being private. No body could give enough of  fuck to read it. And I say ‘as of now’ because in my head, I’m the hero of my own film. So that means some day there will be readers here and I’ll have a proper blog following.

So every now and then, I’ll just write shit that I found funny about a day on/off the stage and you decide if it is funny to you or not. And once you decide that, don’t bother telling me about it because I’m not a place in life where I can handle hope or sorrow.

So last night, I was at an open mic. It was random as fuck because there was no one there in a bar. Of course there was no one there, it was a rainy Tuesday night. The kind of night in vigilante movies where the villain would do something extremely fucked up and then the hero will have to save it all.

So anyway, 10th on the list, I get up on stage. It’s just five audience members now (a couple and a group of three) and about 15 comedians. I was doing some random shit about how a group of meat eaters attacked a vegan eatery and threw chicken at the people eating there. In my head, I pictured people throwing their daughters at me, ‘ki bhai wah kya boley ho tum.’

Reality, for obvious reasons, was a little different. The couple just kept staring at me like I said some shit that is deeply offensive. There was more sadness in between and then I went to a joke about circumcision in the Mughal era.

Offense virus hit them. They picked up their things and moved to the outside area where happy people who have better things to do were listening to live music. I was cool with it. At least they did not spit on my face before they left. Because trust me, that is a genuine fear I have. That people who don’t like my performance will walk out in the middle of the performance and then take a detour till the stage, spit on my face and go away. It’s fucken gross but I’ve seen that shit in my dreams. Very weird dreams.

Anyway so they walk out. Once I’m done with the performance I just step in the outside section to get some air. The couple who walked out were now sitting with people and laughing and shit. The moment they saw me, they started pointing at me and telling something to the other three they were chilling with.

I continue to walk away but all of them kept looking at me as I walked across the floor to the washroom. They repeated the entire thing when I walked back from the washroom to the section where the open mic was going on.

I honestly think becoming the Joker from The Dark Knight is a little bit of an over reaction to people talking about foreskin removal.

Looks like my comedy got into their skin. Their foreskin. But I get it. It is more than just a ‘sensitive’ issue. It’s a part as well.

Yeah seriously, that’s my closing line.  I didn’t really think the idea of writing this thing through but I’m here so I’ll publish it. Hopefully, we’ll do better next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You still reading? Go away!

The diminishing fine line

Untitled-2.jpg
Morgan Freeman and George Carlin

Acting and Stand up comedy, across the globe, are slowly starting to come under the same banner. Although that can never be a problem, the fact that stand up comedians are also aiming to become actors might be a cause of concern for the traditional art of stand up comedy.

Speaking from a strictly purist stand point, it would be safe to assume that stand up comedy is all about being your real self on stage. And only people who actually are their real selves on stage manage to make it big in the industry.

George Carlin, Ricky Gervais, Louis CK and even Biswa Kalyan Rath for that matter are where they are because they just end up being themselves on stage, which is a completely new thing for audiences.

Often, stand up comedians are advised to be their original self on stage by experts of the field. And even though ‘being yourself is the best way to learn stand up’ might sound like a cliche, that remains the ultimate truth of the stand up industry.

Acting, on the other hand, is a completely contradicting art to stand up comedy in terms of its fundamentals. To be a successful actor, one must be able to let go of each and every aspect of his/her and adapt to the character he is playing.

Be it Morgan Freeman from Invictus or Nawazuddin Siddiqui from Gangs of Wasseypur, these actors are great because they convinced the world that they did not exist in the film. They convinced the audience that the guy they saw on screen was a person was actually a Mandela or a gangster from Dhanbad.

This is where my argument comes into play. As a comedian, a person must never let go of being himself, even for the silver screen. But if the comedian does let go of himself and plays a character in the film, and plays it brilliantly for that matter, he would never get back to the purist’s form of comedy again.

I am not saying that WILL ruin his comedy for certain. For all I know, it might end up being better. But that would ensure that every time the person goes out to do comedy, he will assume a character. He might say he is being ‘himself. But that ‘himself’ would be a character he cooked up in his mind with his characteristics and then play it out on stage. It is like wearing your own mask. Even though it looks like you, we can be certain there is something plastic about it.

Again, this post really doesn’t have a point or a supporting argument for any of these two sides. It is just an observation. And an observation, which I think often goes unnoticed.  For if it is noticed, we might have a completely different take on both – acting and stand up.