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Vir Das on the shifting sands of stand-up comedy in India

Actor-comedian Vir Das who recently became the first Indian comedian to get a Netflix original comedy special, talks about the rise of stand-up comic acts in India and insists that one can now make a lucrative career in this field.

tv Updated: Oct 01, 2016 08:59 IST
Samarth Goyal
Samarth Goyal
Hindustan Times
Stand Up Comedy,Vir Das,Bollywood
Comedian Vir Das feels stand-up comedy is an extremely lucrative profession.

Over the last few years, India has witnessed a slew of stand-up comedians and comic groups burgeon — with the likes of AIB (All India Bakchod), comedian Kanan Gill and others now swanking a huge fan base. Actor-comedian-singer Vir Das, who is considered to be the first one to make a living out of the profession, believes comedy has become “an extremely lucrative profession.”

“I have no doubt in my mind that stand-up has grown massively over the years in India, and has become a sustainable profession.Every day I get emails from people telling me that they want to become a comedian and do live shows. That shows that people really look up to stand-up comics ,” he says.

Das recalls the days when he began with his live comic acts, saying: “Back in the day when I had just started off, I used to feel like I am playing tennis against a wall. I used to feel so alone. But that’s not the case anymore,” says the 37-year-old actor who recently became the first Indian comedian to get a Netflix original comedy special — an honour that belongs to popular comedians such as Kevin Hart, Louis CK, Bill Burr and Russel Peters.

Das is adamant that “there is a genuine chance” for the world to have its first international Indian comedian. “I think the trick is to not make jokes with the Indian accent but to make jokes with an Indian perspective – about how things are in the world right now. No more jokes about Bollywood or Indian stereotypes that are too local but talk about other things. Last year when I toured in US, my jokes about Obama and other things related to US resonated well there. So I think that’s what one needs to focus on if they want to become a global comedian,” he says.

First Published: Oct 01, 2016 08:58 IST