The game of wits

Laugh riot
Last Updated 26 September 2016, 18:39 IST

He debuted his comedy special ‘Holy Krao’ in 2012 and followed it up with ‘It’s Not Okay’ in 2015.

One among the seven standup comedians at East India Comedy (EIC), Kunal Rao left his dull job as a CA and stepped into the world of comedy; a journey that he terms as “interesting, up and down, crazy yet extremely satisfying”. It’s been a lot of heartbreak and pain as well as happiness but his wit has held him in good stead.

The comedian, who has performed at several shows across the country, feels he’s still young in the comedy scene and wants to spread his wings further.

Kunal recently performed in the city at ‘That Comedy Club’ where he pulled jokes on himself, on being a South Indian and a brahmin, travelling, things he hates about the present generation, the generation gap and Indian parents.

In between, he also took time off for a serious chat with Anushree Agarwal.

So what’re you doing at the moment? Preparing a joke?
In fact, I was doing the exact opposite — reading extremely heavy stuff...a free speech bill that’s being proposed to be revised.

From filing tax returns to making people laugh...
I wish I could say that I quit my job to become a standup comedian but the truth is I quit my job and then became one. I wanted to do something creative but didn’t know what it was. Comedy came along by luck — I just happened to go for an open mic night and it worked out well. So here I am.

What’s your style and how do you source your content?
I don’t have a specific style or genre because I experiment with everything. I’ve tried deadpan comedy, angry personality on stage, high energy-low energy, current affairs, Bollywood, personal stories...all of it. I don’t want to put myself into any particular category.
I talk a lot about myself, being a CA and a man, observational stuff about relationships, sleeping habits.... about anything I come across. Sometimes, I try to take the opportunity to communicate a positive message to encourage positive actions in our country in a humorous way.

Do you feel comedy is natural or acquired?
Though a lot of people say it’s natural, I think there are both kinds. There are some basic things one can learn and study to improve their ability to write and one can also experiment with acting and performing on stage by watching others. There are some people who are very natural at it and it takes them less effort to be funny while there are others who can improve their ability to be hilarious.

Three qualities every standup comedian must possess.
Basic talent, intent and hard work and a really really alligator-dinosaur thick skin.

A joke that has always worked.
Any joke on myself.

A joke that terribly fell flat.
Well, ‘they’ fell flat so what’s the point of sharing?

An oft-asked question that annoys you.
Four questions above...How do you think of your jokes?

Do you think it’s important to draw a line between humour/sarcasm and insult?
Everybody has a line. It’s just that the line is different for everyone. It all gets blurred and it’s very difficult to say what’s right and what’s wrong because it’s so

The best audience till now...
In Mumbai, Bengaluru and Guwahati.

If not a comedian...
A rockstar.

What are you working on next?
Personally, I am working on a vacation! At EIC, we’re doing a really big show in
November and December across eight cities. It’ll be announ­ced in a couple of weeks.

(Published 26 September 2016, 15:52 IST)

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