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'Imitation is the best form of flattery'

Stand-up comic Suresh Menon talks to Nandan Kini about good comedy, favourite comedians and his married life.

tv Updated: Jun 16, 2007 19:27 IST
Nandan Kini
Nandan Kini
Hindustan Times

TV’s stand-up comic, Suresh Menon, goes ha ha with Nandan Kini.

Have your lampoons of businessmen, politicians and film stars ever landed you in trouble?
Whatever I do is in good humour. It’s not meant to hurt anyone. In fact, a parody is a tribute.. imitation is the best form of flattery. (Laughs) Touchwood, so far I haven’thad any problems. I think Indians appreciate humour. Around 80 per cent of us know to laugh at ourselves.

Lately, the Laughter Challenge has seen Pakistani comedians walk off with the top honours. Is this because their humour is more direct?
I don’t know if you find them funny, but I don’t. It’s got nothing to do with their nationality. I’m all for Indo-Pak peace. I’m not against Pakistan but I think giving these awards is a false attempt at extending a hand of friendship.

Karachi’s Umar Sharif is one of Asia’s best-known humourists. Would you still say Pakistanis lack talent?
They are talented, I’m not denying that. All I’m saying is we have hundreds of talented comedians in our country. Let’s tap these talents first and then look others from other countries.

Doesn’t your humour often verge on vulgarity?
I love humour arising out of vulgarity, out of day-to-day situations, out of politics. I love Dada Kondke.. he was the finest exponent of below-the-belt humour.

Hasn’t TV, especially the comedy shows, become a refuge for flop stand-up comics, like Raju Shrivastav?
Television has become a huge platform nowadays. In Raju’s case, he’s been struggling for a decade. It’s thanks to TV that he’s got a new lease of life. Similarly, whatever I am today is because of television.

Don’t Sajid Khan, Roshan Abbas and you look alike?
Yeah,we do look like duplicates of one another. I guess all comedians look similar. I’d like to believe I’m the best looking of the lot.

Are you in touch with Sajid Khan?
I call him up every day. In fact, there was a time when our friendship almost traumatised my wife.. it nearly destroyed my marriage. Thankfully, better sense prevailed and my wife realised I was not what she thought.

First Published: Jun 16, 2007 18:23 IST