Q How does it feel to constantly defy critics and the notion that Indians can’t be funny as they are quick to take offense and find it hard to be self-depreciative?
I never worry about critics. That’s the beauty of comedy — you don’t need them. There either is laughter at a joke or there isn’t. As far as Indians laughing at themselves, I believe we have the ability to be self depreciative; we just need a little foreplay first!Q In what way Delhi and Delhiites influence your performances? It’s hard not to talk about Delhi. I grew up here, most of the girls I have loved have been from here, and most of the guys I have hated have also been from here! QYou have preformed more than 100 shows. So, how do you make each one interesting?
I keep re-inventing myself. Until 2008, I was mostly doing corporate comedy. But since I wanted to do something edgy, I met Ashvin Gidwani, a stalwart in the Mumbai theatre scene and a promoter of stand up comedy. We began with Walking On Broken Das, which was an instant hit across the country. I then started experimenting with comedy and began, Weirdass Comedy. I started doing improved, sketch, written and other forms of comedy with the most talented newcomers out there. Then came History of India, which is supremely clean, but 10 times as risky. I still like to get vulgar and naughty, for which, there is Alien Chutney, my comedy rock band that is on tour every week.
Q What is your top 10 to-do list when you visit Delhi?
I do only three things when in Delhi — meet my family, sleep, and have a double mutton single egg roll from Nizams. Anything else that I do in Delhi does not belong in a newspaper.
Q How has the journey been, from performing in Moscow to being an accomplished comedian and now a Bollywood actor?
I’m just this guy who stumbled into the fame out of sheer dumb luck. I honestly went to Mumbai with a suitcase and a lot of optimism with the sole aim of making people laugh for a living. I wasn’t thinking movies and fame and stardom and I don’t think that way today either.
Q Can you tell us about your show - History of India?
It’s the craziest set of ideas I’ve ever had. I always loved history and the journey of a country — how entire civilisations go through periods of innovation and greatness and then through darkness. It’s a journey through every single major event in Indian history portrayed by stand up comedy. It jokes about all the things you’ve learnt in school. It’s patriotic, offensive, satirical, factual and fictional.
Catch him here
What: History of India, a comedy act
When: February 4
Timing: 7.30pm onwards
Entry: Rs 500, Rs 1,000, Rs 1,500, Rs 2,000, Rs 2,500. Available at Bookmyshow.com
Where: Siri Fort Auditorium, Siri Fort road
NEAREST METRO STATION: Green Park on the Yellow Line