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Meet comedian Naveen Richard, a practical joker with ethics

Ahead of his first solo special, comedian Naveen Richard says he made prank calls as a kid, has a fear of pressure cookers, and can’t count to save his life

HT48HRS_Special Updated: Jan 12, 2017 18:43 IST
Manali Shah
Manali Shah
Hindustan Times
HT48Hours,Naveen Richard,Stand up comedy in India
Comedian Naveen Richard at his Bandra apartment (Photo: Aalok Soni/HT)

Ahead of his first solo special, comedian Naveen Richard says he made prank calls as a kid, has a fear of pressure cookers, and can’t count to save his life.

Comedian Naveen Richard’s (26) Bandra residence breaks all the stereotypes that you may have about a bachelor pad. It is spick and span to the point of giving us an inferiority complex. There’s even art on the walls. “Kanan [Gill, comedian] bought it from London,” Richard says. He shares the apartment with Gill, and fellow stand-up comedian Kenneth Sebastian.

All three Bengaluru boys moved to Mumbai in the past few months. “It doesn’t really feel like I’m living in Mumbai because I’m surrounded by people from Bengaluru. I have found a cosy little denial place,” Richard says, adding, “We were spending so much time in the city because of shows, we thought we might as well move here.”

Work in progress

Richard is known for the absurd sci-fi themed web series, Star Boyz, and the mockumentary web series, Better Life Foundation (BLF). Apart from writing season two of BLF, he is currently touring the country with his first solo special, Don’t Make that Face, and will perform in Mumbai this weekend. “The set is a mix of some of my oldest and newest jokes,” he says. “I’ll talk about how I can’t cook, how I have a fear of pressure cookers, and then there’s a story about how I went a year early to the airport due to a confusion with the ticket.”

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Richard says many of the traits his character (founder of the NGO) display are inspired by Richard’s real-life personality. For instance, his terrible Hindi, and the difficulty in getting his signature right (which causes cheques to bounce) and in counting. In fact, when we ask Richard in which month did he move to Mumbai, he is unable to give us an answer. Instead, he recounts an incident which took place when he was around 10. “Someone asked me when my birthday was. I couldn’t remember. I made an excuse and ran way. Then, there was this girl in college who started crying because I didn’t remember her birthday. She said even my friends had called her. I wished that was not how I found out how important I was to her,” he says.

The class clown

Growing up in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, Richard’s friends compared him to Mr Bean while in school, Jim Carrey when in college, and eventually to Steve Carell (known for the mockumentary sitcom, The Office, which BLF is partly inspired by). When he was a kid, he once called up a cellular network’s customer service centre as a prank. “I said, ‘I want to change my phone. The executive said, ‘Okay, so you want to change your number?’ I said, “No, I want to change the colour of my phone.’ He genuinely tried to help me, and I felt bad for the guy,” Richard recalls, adding, “I was a prank caller with some moral ethics.”

Be there

What: Don’t Make That Face by Naveen Richard will be held on January 14, 8.30pm

Where: The Cuckoo Club, St Andrews Road, Bandra (W)

Tickets: Rs 500 on

First Published: Jan 12, 2017 18:42 IST