Stand up comedy is all about instant gratification: Omkar Rege
Omkar Rege initially started his career as a reporter and a film journalist. However, at the back of his head, he always knew that he was a funny guy. Having said that, he never believed that he belonged to the universe of comedy or that he could exist there. He recalls being punished in school for his funny one-liners and witty puns. Talking about the shift from journalism to comedy, Omkar says, “In a lot of ways, journalism and comedy are alike. They both speak the truth. However, given today’s state of affairs, as a comedian, I have more editorial control (laughs).”
Omkar remembers that his journey of taking comedy seriously happened only in 2015. He says, “I was at a very low point in my life, where I was working as a freelance writer. I was like on an auto mode — write, earn money, pay rent. I thought, I would be doing this all my life and die. It was very demotivating. During this time, I watched a lot of western comedy content, which included Seinfeld reruns, shows of Louis CK which inspired me to take it up.”
Omkar realised that every one has their own humour, the only way to put it forth is to do it yourself. He says, “I know of a lot of friends in Mumbai, who ghost write jokes, I really don’t know how that works. Because the whole point of stand-up is the instant gratification. The sound of laughter makes you realise that you’re doing well, and vice versa.”
On a philosophical note, he adds that he is yet discovering the comedian in him. “I am still figuring out the process — which jokes work, what audience fits my humour, etc.”
The Goan lad works with a digital agency, Be Birbal, that he credits for his journey so far too. “Most of what I am doing today would not have been possible without the help of Gandhaar (Sangoram, artiste and director of Be Birbal). I was doing open mics but Gandhaar introduced me to BhaDiPa (Bharatiya Digital Party) and that’s how I became a part of Marathi stand-up,” he says.
Ask him where he gets his content from and he jokes, “Well, I knew that I would definitely write more jokes. I actually don’t stress a lot on where my content will come from. I like to believe that jokes come to me. There is this quote by American comic and film-maker, Mel Brooks, ‘Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die’. So, I dig inward for my jokes — what has bothered me, what has hurt me. It is usually inwards and hence, I have been accused of not being relatable.”
Portuguese Saala is Omkar’s first one hour special and he has mixed emotions as the day nears. “I am nervous before every show. The bigger challenge this time is the duration and the fact that it is going to be just me for a long time. I am used to shorter sets and being a part of line-ups. This is something new, so I have mixed feelings. Weird things are playing in my head such as how much water I should drink to avoid a dry throat (laughs),” he concludes.
What: Portuguese Saala by Omkar Rege
Where: Hippie @ Heart, Bhandarkar Road
When: On July 13, at 8pm.