CHENNAI: A person who can fill a room with laughter is indeed blessed, said Bennet Cerf in the last century. One such blessed soul is coming to Chennai this weekend to fill the city with glitz of laughter. Dr Jagdish Chaturvedi, a surgeon-turned-stand-up-comedian, talks to CE about his passion, work-life balance and an epic mission of creating awareness on depression. Excerpt follows.
From surgeon to comedian, an unusual yet interesting transition...
I always wanted to be a doctor. Science was already in my blood since my father was a doctor. Another reason is, I was extremely bad with numbers but I was sound in science. There was no transition as such because I used to perform in theatre and I was a part of theatre when I was a kid. So, it just happened.
The title of your latest show is fascinating, ‘F for failure’. Is it inspired from your own life experience?
Absolutely, I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and as a result, a lot of failures. I have a hobby of writing books and I decided to make this the subject of my second book. Then my friends suggested that it has the potential to be more than just a book. So, in a way, the title symbolises my life.
The main idea behind this show is to fund the awareness programme on depression. So, how do you think this issue should be approached?
I found out that there are a lot of depression cases among the youth in our country especially in the urban areas.
The main theme of this show is the benefits of failing successfully. My aim is to change the perception of people about failures. Depression is a disorder where we lose control over the ability to be happy. It should be approached after gaining enough knowledge about the whole business. If you think you are depressed, then you should look for help and learn to look at mistakes and failures in a positive way.
How far can medical science provide help to this trauma?
There are a lot of ways to help a person suffering from depression. We can admit them under supervision. There is medication, both oral and injection. There is counselling and other methods like electro-conversive therapy. It is treatable if detected in an early stage.
Where do you see yourself five years from now, as a comedian or as a doctor?
Definitely a doctor and I will be one till I die. I will be one of the top stand-up comedians of this country in five years. The thing is, I can’t lose one for another. I get my ideas to do stand-up comedies from my clinic and being a comedian makes it easier for my patients to connect with me. It helps them develop a more trusty and friendly bond with me.
Doesn’t competition faze you?
I believe I have a unique style. My shows are clean and more observed. My strategy is to target the family audience. It is a difficult but good strategy. My peers are more focused on the youth and hence the vulgar verbal content. This makes families stay away from stand-up comedies and that’s where I come into play.
What relationship do you share with your peers?
I have received immense support from that circuit. Even the show I am going to do in Chennai happened because of a senior stand-up comedian, Karthik Kumar. Without their support, how can I do 100 shows within my first seven months?
How do you strike a balance between both the professions?
Actually, being a surgeon helped me become a stand-up comedian. During a surgery, we need to rely on our spot improvisation a lot. The same happens in a stand-up comedy show when a joke doesn’t work. We have to work a lot on our reflux.
What is your biggest dream?
I am living my dream. I know it doesn’t happen to lot of people. I have two professions I love, a loving family and my dream is that I can continue living this life.
‘F for Failure’ with Dr Jagdish Chaturvedi is on August 13 from
7:30 pm at Bay 146, Hotel Savera.
Tickets available on bookmyshow