Stand-up comedian Sorabh Pant’s 15-month-old son has inspired his new solo show. We speak to him about parenthood, changing diapers, and the challenges of keeping an infant entertained.
The first thing we notice at Sorabh Pant’s Bandra residence is a car seat for kids. It’s afternoon, and the baby in question is soundly asleep in the bedroom. Pant, known for founding the comedy troupe East India Co.medy, is making his 16th cup of coffee. He’s in shorts and running shoes: “I don’t get the time to exercise now, so I try to walk to places.”
His first two solo shows punned on his last name — Pants on Fire and Traveling Pants. The third one doesn’t. Called My Baby Thinks I’m Funny, this set will feature gags and anecdotes about turning parent. “The reason I wrote this show is basically to finance my son’s college education. And exploit his cuteness, because I have none,” Pant explains.
Pant has a 15-month-old, named Vikramaditya because Pant and his wife, Iva Bagchi, wanted to give him a name that sounds powerful. “I told my wife he’s going to be a ruler. He obviously doesn’t resemble a Vikramaditya yet though,” he laughs.
So, what’s Vikramaditya like? Fussy about eating, for one. “It’s like he’s some food aficionado already. Once my wife and I were in a 5-star for a few days, and we had a variety of food. Now he thinks that’s his life. He wants more variety wherever we are. He’s like a baby Vir Sanghvi at the moment,” Pant says.
Pant admits he was never a fan of kids. The first baby he ever held, he says, was his own. He’s a convert now, and sounds like any new parent when he says: “I didn’t expect to have as much feelings towards a human being as I have towards my son. Earlier, I was like, ‘Babies are annoying little things.’ Now I’m like, ‘Guys, babies are amazing.’ My baby is my muse.”
And while children might be amazing, parents and caregivers of young ones are all too familiar with the struggles of keeping them entertained. Last week, Pant posted a short video on his Facebook page and called it ‘Nursery Crimes: Wheels on the Bus’. It had his son, surrounded by three different toys, but still crying and refusing to have his breakfast. But put on some nursery rhymes on TV and he was perfectly happy to oblige. We ask Pant how difficult he found it to keep a baby entertained. He says, “Last year, I did four shows of Traveling Pants in four cities in a day. In a span of 14 hours, I performed nine hours of comedy, and travelled for five hours. After the third show, I was on the floor. It was crazy.” But it was still nothing, he says, compared to entertaining a child.
Fun and games are one thing, and changing diapers, quite another. “I’ve done a lot of that,” Pant says, adding. “But the one thing I’m absolutely horrible at is putting him to sleep. I’ve tried at least 45 times. He just refuses. He sees my face and starts laughing. He has fallen asleep only four or five times, and after great persistence. Twice he was really exhausted. And twice he was just like, fine, I’ll give you this one. But yeah, I know the maintenance of a baby. I’m his service centre.”
Laugh out loud
What: My Baby Thinks I’m Funny will take place on June 4, 8pm.
Where: Tata Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point
Tickets: Rs 300 onward on bookmyshow.com
Call: 6622 3737