'My policy is laugh and let laugh'

Mr Funnybones

'My policy is laugh and let laugh'
He was the ‘fourth funniest person in the world’ in 2015, a title presented to him by Laugh Factory USA, and Nitin Mirani makes one see why. The Dubai-based Indian comedian has performed in over 1500 shows and has earned a reputation of being able to make anyone laugh.
     
Having performed at ‘The Biere Club’ and ‘Vapour’ recently, Nitin talks to Rajitha Menon about his love for hecklers and the comedy scene in India.

What made you decide to take to this field?
Many comics were shy kids in the past and I too was one of those. A skinny, pimple-faced boy who had trouble walking up to people and saying ‘hi’ but who could crack a joke anywhere. But I tried my hand at several jobs before deciding to take a leap of faith and getting into this. Comedy is my calling, not my career.

And how has it worked out?
It has been brilliant. India is becoming a very popular place for international comedians and I have been blessed to have had a very successful stint so far. While performing in Dubai, I had a very mixed audience which has turned me into a ‘glocal’ comedian, something the audience appreciates.

How different is the Indian audience from the ones abroad?
Every audience is different in terms of how much they can handle. India has been very kind to me though. I want to remind people that it’s good to laugh though there are some idiots who can take offence at jokes too. But my policy is laugh and let laugh.

What is your opinion about hecklers?
I love hecklers; knowingly or unknowingly, they contribute to the show. It all depends on how you handle it. I do improv comedy and want my shows to be dialogues rather than monologues. If the person is not mean or racist, I don’t shut him down. Sometimes, the heckler is funnier than the comic.

Any taboo topics when it comes to jokes?
I am still learning and finding what is off limit. Indian comedy as a whole is finding its voice and a lot of people are talking about topics that were considered taboo earlier. For me, I work around the topic. Like I wouldn’t make a rape joke but I will try to address the stupidity of some of the reactions we see to such incidents.

Who would you like to perform with?
Jim Carrey. He is my idol both in comedy and acting. In fact, I am saving up money so that I can stalk him wherever he goes for something like six months at a stretch.

Any funny onstage incidents that weren’t planned?
Plenty and those are usually the best parts of the show. Once I was talking about how men find it difficult to remember dates and time periods. I asked a guy sitting in the audience how long he had been married. He was stunned for a moment, thought a bit and said ‘five  years’. Immediately his wife sitting next to him almost hit him and snarled ‘six years’, thereby proving my point!

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