Thursday, 21 September 2017

Tête-à-Tête with "Comedian" Praveen Kumar

Stand-up Comedy is not a piece of cake, one must do a lot of homework in terms of observing and cultivating a penchant for quick wit and satire.

Here is one such personality who has been
nominated for Forbes "Top 100 Celebrities in India",
rated as one of the "Top 10 Stand-up Comedians" in India by Times of India,
and one of the "Top 10 Comics in India to Look Out For" by IBN Live.

Here is "Comedian" PRAVEEN KUMAR!

I had an opportunity to ask Mr. Praveen a few questions, and it was very sweet of him to take time off his busy schedule to give me answers.

Me: Do you think that comedy is nothing but truth given to audience in a capsule of humour and wit?
Praveen: Comedy is a tool where you talk about truth on stage. Basically, that's how I see it. If you talk about something that the audience are not able to believe, there is no point in talking about it. Therefore, there won't be any relatability. I can talk about my horrible bus journey that happened but I cannot talk about when I was a Superman and when I was not washing my underwear and wearing it outside my pants - the audience won't believe it. So, basically there has to be a truth associated with comedy and comedy is a tool for telling out the truth if it reaches the right audience.

Me: Do you think that there is a dearth for fresh content, and you might have to repeat the old jokes for a very long time? If this is one of the obstacles, then how do you deal with this?
Praveen: Well, it's kind of true. Because it depends on who is performing. See, if somebody is new to comedy, let's say one or two years old then they have to repeat the same stuff again and again till they build up a good 1-hour show. So, the building up of a 1-hour show will take time. My first 1-hour show came in four and a half years. Building up a 1-hour show is going to be difficult, till then one has to be sure about his/her jokes, so, he/she has to keep repeating the jokes, perform before different kind of audiences and build this 1-hour. After that it will be easy for him/her, the second 1-hour will be easier than the first 1-hour, and so on and so forth.

Me: Are you often under the pressure that your content needs to be politically correct (that you are conscious of the cultures' reactions through channels of poetic justice)?
Praveen: Yes, personally I am talking about myself because there are other comedians who need not get politically correct. I personally want to be politically correct because I don't want to get into any kind of controversies, I want to be safe. Basically, to put it in a nutshell, I want to reach home safe after the show. So, I try to be politically correct and make sure I don't offend anybody. If at all anyone gets offended on my show, then it will be me because I talk mostly about myself and make fun of myself.

Me: The ulterior motive of an art is no longer 'solely aesthetic', it must also serve the purpose of instructing the receivers. How convinced are you with this statement?
Praveen: It's kind of yes and no. I will talk about stand-up comedy only as an art, so, some people do stand-up comedy to make sure people enjoy it, right! If they come to the show, they have to forget all their worries and enjoy the show and go back home. Almost everybody does that. I started bringing in a message recently in my show. In my last Tamil show, I gave a message about the importance of mother-tongue in household, encouraging the kids to talk in their mother-tongue. Basically, it depends on who is performing. Personally I try to convey a message (which I started recently), but there is no hard and fast rule that you have to give a message.

Me: What would be your advise to all those aspiring stand-up comedians?
Praveen: My advise to aspiring stand-up comics is: Be at it! Keep doing... keep doing... keep doing, and don't compare yourself with anybody. Compare 'yourself' with 'you' - like when you perform an open-mic today and next day when you go, make sure you perform at least five percent better than how you performed the previous day. That's enough! So, everyday if you do it as a challenge, then you will see a huge improvement. But if you start comparing yourself with others then there is no point. So, basically be at it, hard-work, conviction, and never ever compare yourself with others.