'I learnt calculus from the audience'

'I learnt calculus from the audience'

He's known for his witty performances in the improv comedy show 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?' but Jeff Davis has made a mark with his work internationally. Also an actor and singer, one of his popular acts is impersonating actors like Christopher Walken and Jeff Goldblum.  

Jeff was recently in the city to make Bengalureans laugh as part of the 'Black Dog Easy Evenings' which was held at Manpho. He took some time off to speak to about his experience performing here.

How has Bengaluru treated you?

It's been great. The people were very polite. The traffic is fantastic and I loved how everyone has laid off the horns here. They really know how to be calm here (laughs).

Did you find anything weird on the road though?

Oh, yes! There was a cow walking down the road and absolutely no one cared. I wasn't sure if I should have either.

How do you think the comedy scene has changed over the years?

Well, I can only speak for America because that's where I'm from. Comedians are becoming respected in the political world and there's a lot of satirical humour. And I think we really need it, especially with how things are right now. We could all laugh a little more these days.

But where should one draw the line between insulting someone and just being funny?

I say that you should be really funny so that the person you're insulting will think it's funny.

According to you, how helpful has social media been for new comedians?

It's a lot easier now because back in the day, you had that perfect five minutes to be hilarious, get noticed, be asked to perform at a festival, get an agent and then get a television show. Now, you have your own set audience. You are your own agent, network and producer. Social media allows you to decide what you want to do with your content.

Is there a kind of comedy that you don't enjoy?

There's a way in which you approach a joke but the moment it becomes mean, that's not comedy anymore. Trying to be fake edgy and saying bad things is just you being an idiot.

You were mistaken as the writer of 'Teen Wolf' and 'Criminal Minds'. What's it like being him on social media?

Yes, a lot of people think I'm Jeff B Davis and he is a very smart man. He doesn't have a Twitter account. So every time something happens to one of the characters, I get all the death threats and abuses.

What's the best compliment you received for being thought of as Jeff B Davis?

Since it's on Twitter, I get a lot of teenagers tweeting 140 heart emojis. Now it's increased to 280!

Have you ever thought of writing your own television show?

Oh, no. I am way too lazy to do that. That's why I just stick to doing improv.

What's something your audience has taught you?

Weirdly, I learnt calculus from the audience. I don't know how, but it's true.

What do you do when you goof up on stage?

I don't know, I haven't had a moment like that yet (laughs).

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