The comic take

The comic take

Standup artiste

The comic take

Coming from a family steeped in the field of law,  Subhashish Bharuka has made an unusual career choice. The standup comedian has had a flair for the stage since childhood and has recently started ‘Comedy Barrel’ which aims to contribute to the growing ecosystem of standup comedy in the country.

 His first production, ‘WEDx — Where Husbands Dare’, is a hilarious take on marriage where five comedians speak about their experiences. Subhashish talks to Rajitha Menon about choosing comedy and the demands it makes.

How did you get interested in the field?

It was at the age of six that I fell in love with the stage. Once my mom made me a scarecrow outfit for a school fancy dress competition. She did a great job and all my classmates clapped and laughed loudly when I went on stage. I won the first prize that day and since then, I have wanted to be behind the mic to make people laugh.

What were the initial few months like?

I feel standup comedy is a very difficult job. Because joking around with friends
is different as compared to talking to an audience who does not know you at all.

So is it better for you now?

I started regularly going for open mics only recently and I am still in the early stages of grasping the art form. It can be a nerve-wracking but most satisfying experience.

Was your family okay with your career choice?

My wife has to listen to all my jokes; she’s my guinea pig. But she’s been very supportive. Not that she had much of a choice though (laughs). As for family, I come from a family of lawyers and for them it’s just a hobby, which is fair from their perspective.

The first time the audience didn’t laugh at a joke...
There was a joke on which I laughed all day long. I went to an open mic the same evening thinking this is the best joke I’ve written. I recite it on stage and there’s pin drop silence as the audience waits for the punchline. For me it was a realization. Every time a joke doesn’t work, I want to go back on stage with a refined version and better content.

What is the best place to look for new material for jokes?
Life, parents, marriage, malls, movie theaters, grocery stores, roads and so on. My personal favourite is observing people’s behaviour.

Something that you never find funny? 

Jokes on poverty. I feel it is quite distasteful to make fun of people for whom life itself is luxury. But it is a personal choice I guess.

If you could perform for someone, who will it be?

My father. He’s an extremely humorous person in life and has a genuine funny bone. But he’s never seen me perform. I’d love to perform for him but only when I’ve reached a level in comedy.

What does it require to be a standup comedian?
Relatable content, patience and persistence. It’s a long-drawn process, just like any other job. Acquiring stage skills, comedy timing, and establishing a connect with the audience takes a really long time. A strong presence of mind is also required.

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