Funny and unfunny Rohan Joshi 

Funny and unfunny Rohan Joshi 

Earlier a journalist and now a full-time comedian, he says that he has picked up the art of thinking on his feet

The year was 2011 and Rohan Joshi was a full-time journalist. One day, he decided to go up on stage and try standup comedy. He enjoyed it so much he started performing at open-mic nights a couple of times a week. He even took up freelance comedy writing. 

He did that for three months and realised that comedy pays him the same amount his day job does. He then left journalism
and became a full-time comedian. 

Today, he’s a well-known standup comic who performs across the country and abroad. He is also one of the key people at the creative agency ‘All India Bakchod’ (AIB) along with Gursimran Khamba, Tanmay Bhat and Ashish Shakya.

Rohan confesses that while starting out, he never thought his career in comedy would take off. “There were only a few Indian comics back then. There were great ones who did work in vernacular languages, but very few in the urban pub setup. We started off at small bar. But things really changed when social media and online platforms became popular,” Rohan tells Metrolife. 

The comic also wrote humourous pieces for publications for a few years. But writing comedy and performing are two different things. 

He says, “I always performed in school plays and functions. During college, we were required to do a lot of presentations in front of people. So I wasn’t inherently afraid of performing.” 

“But it was an interesting process to put that energy into writing. When you write comedy pieces, there’s a certain grammar and syntax. But for performances, the writing has to be in a conversational tone.” 

If he were to title the writing transitions he’s gone through, he’d explain it like this — “The first few years is ‘whatever-I-want’ phase. Now it’s a more ‘lively, older and think-before-you-say’ phase.” 

There are some comics who write one or two jokes just for themselves. Rohan believes that he’d be a terrible comedian if he did that. He says, “At the end of the day, you are performing for your audience and they deserve a good time.”

He’s also learnt the art of thinking on his feet and improvising when the audience doesn’t laugh. “It can get scary and nerve-wracking but with experience, I’ve become less scared.” 

He’s not always the funny guy either. “It’s actually the acquaintances that expect you to be funny all the time. My friends already know that I’m a grounded person who enjoys ordinary conversations with the people around him.”

And when he’s on stage, his only agenda is to make his audience laugh. He doesn’t want to be the bearer of news like some comedians. 

Rohan says, “I’m not a journalist. I would very much encourage people to still get their news from responsible means. There are comics who choose to do that type of content but that’s their choice.”

So what’s your writing process like? “I wish I could tell you that I had one,” he says. 

“It’s mostly jotted down notes on my phone and last-minute panic, two hours before the show, that makes my content.” 

Quick five with Rohan 

What are you most grateful for? 

For having a job that’s different every day. 

Do you ever feel like giving it all up? 

Yes, and that’s the beauty of it. When I want to take a break, I can. I choose when to make people laugh. 

What annoys you the most? 

When people get offended very fast. 

Why come out to watch you perform when one can on YouTube or OTT platforms? 

Because the experience is incredible. 

But you can save a lot of money and time… 

That’s like saying why travel to a country when you can just see pictures of it and be satisfied.