Hits and flops in funnies biz

Punya Arora

Bengaluru is home to many people in the funnies business. They tell Metrolife their best and worst jokes. 

Punya Arora

A photographer-turned-standup comedian, she is happy she picked a profession where she gets paid to talk.


Jagdish Chaturvedi

Getting it right: During the trials, I try to find the rhythm of a joke. Once I have perfected it, I don’t exactly tell the joke, I sell it.

Always works: When I say, ‘I am a South-Indian Punjabi. I like my curd rice with butter chicken.’

Often doesn’t work: Trying to pull off a joke about a situation I’m stuck in, I say, ‘This is like Abhimanyu and the Chakravyuh’. People give me blank faces. I always thought it was a brilliant line.

Jagdish Chaturvedi

An ENT specialist, Jagdish likes making people laugh with jokes in Hinglish (Hindi and English).


Bhargav Ramakrishnan

Getting it right: It’s not what you say but how you say it. I work a lot on the delivery and use my theatre experience.

Always works: Bengaluru is a start-app capital. Har cheez ke liye app hai aaj kal. I searched to check if there was anything without an app. Aur uske liye bhi mujhe app mil gaya. It is called ‘Apne App Dhoond Lo’.

Oft doesn’t work: This has a low success rate: ‘Why do we call a toilet a restroom? Hum log rest karne jaatey hain kya wahan?’

Bhargav Ramakrishnan

Fulltime standup comedian Bhargav aka Baggy speaks in Tamil and English.

Getting it right: I always feel tense.

Always works: An experiment to understand people’s relationship with their fathers: Take their mobile phone, punch their father’s number and call. Daughters are usually father’s pets, so a girl’s phone will display, ‘Dad Calling’, ‘Daddyyy’, ‘Subu’, ‘Venky’, sometimes even ‘Subs’ or ‘Venks’ or such cute nicknames. But if it is a guy’s phone, it is likely to say, ‘M Venkatasubramanian BA, BL.’ Other ways the name is saved: ‘Torture’, ‘Hitler’ or even ‘Unknown Number.’

Often doesn’t work: “I have a theory Hollywood copies from the Indian epics. XMen are avatars of Vishnu and the Game of Thrones is just Mahabharata abridged. To prove my point I say the superhit sitcom ‘How I Met Your Mother’ is a gender-reversed version of the story of Sita talking to Lava and Kusha. So the Ramayana is nothing but ‘How I Met Your Father.’ Somehow the joke never takes off.”


Sneha Suhas

Sneha Suhas

An RJ-cum-standup comedian, a lot of her jokes are about hecklers.

Getting it right: Ticketed events scare me. I cut myself some slack at open-mic sessions.

Always works: Quite a few actually. I start my shows usually with ‘I come from a minority community in Bengaluru: I am a Kannadiga.’ And it always works.

Often doesn’t work: There are some I am still working on, like ‘Jack in Titanic is a hot loser. He is a Superlike on Tinder but a reject on Shaadi.com’.  Another that always gets sighs instead of laughs is: ‘There is a magical word which turns on a lot of men in our country. It’s ‘no’.


Anup Maiya

Anup Maiya

A trainer at an IT company, he mixes his workplace comedy with Kannada puns.  

Getting it right: It depends on the crowd. When it’s Kannada jokes, the crowd is often dominated by people above 60.

Always works: A test lead says to a tester: ‘Naanu avaaginda bug torsta iddeeni, neenu nodtane illa.’ (‘Bug,’ or how ‘baggu’ sounds in conversation, means to bend.)

Often doesn’t work: How to make a girl invite you to her house? Ask her, ‘Do you like chapatis?’ If she says yes, tell her, ‘Make some. I am coming over.’ If she says no, say, ‘I like them, but never mind. I’m still coming over.’

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Hits and flops in funnies biz

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