BANGALORE: World famous brown Wizard with powers of flight and looking bald’ is how Sorabh Pant describes himself on Twitter. Touted as, one of India’s top six comedians and a Young Achiever of 2012’, by Society magazine, we thought we better catch up with this funny guy prior to his upcoming standup comic act and launch of his debut novel The Wednesday Soul for the first time in Bangalore.
City Express speaks to Saurabh and asks him about the business of acting funny and his future plans
CE:As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At 5 ft 7 inches, I’m still growing. I want to grow up to be tall.
CE:How did stand-up comedy happen? Did you ever think that you would be making a living out of it?
Not particularly. I didn’t even think it was an option especially for financial gain but, then I did my first corporate show about two years ago, saw the pay check and discovered my lunacy actually had a pretty good price.
CE: Which is your favourite city while performing, where you find the audience most responsive?
Mumbai and Delhi are the most raucous and loud. Bangalore is very discerning. They tend to have higher standards than most cities. Once they’re on your side — they’re unbelievable. As long as you don’t make the North Indian mistake of calling a Malayalee, a Kannadiga surname!
CE: Your hobbies, other than acting funny and writing?
That’s full time. Making sure my wife doesn’t leave me is high priority too. I love travelling, playing sports and staying active.
CE:Has there ever been an instance when the audience hasn’t laughed at your jokes? How did you react?
You motor on. There’s no alternative. You do what you have to do and hope something will click with them. Also, you try and pick on someone that usually tends to work.
CE: How do you prepare for your shows? Do you rehearse a lot?
Any good comedian who tells you they don’t rehearse is a liar. Every crowd interaction, every little bit of nonsense has been rehearsed at some level. I usually get really nervous and exhausted before a show. It’s a bit ridiculous. Very contrasting to my on stage behaviour
CE: Your personal favourites when it comes to stand up comedians around the world?
Oh, the list is very long. Watched a lot of comedy but, I love Chris Rock’s energy and logic, Robin Williams’ manic insanity is crazy. Brian Regan, Miki Birbiglia, Eddie Izzard. Long list.
CE: Tell us about your book, The Wednesday Soul.
The Wednesday Soul is a comedy on the afterlife. It’s a twisted comedy fantasy about what happens after you die. It’s the favorite thing I’ve ever written. Some parts of it are mildly serious which surprises people. “You have a brain. We didn’t know!”, they scream. The Wednesday Soul is a soul who has committed sub-conscious suicide. The logic is that after you die — every soul is divided into a different soulday i.e. Monday Souls are sinners because we hate Mondays. Saturday Souls are those who attained Salvation, because Saturday is awesome.
CE:You were a writer before you became a stand-up comedian? How did the shift happen?
I was a writer who wanted a lot of attention. That’s literally it. Fortunately, Vir Das thought I was funny and pushed me into it. So, blame him for the start.
CE:What are your
World domination! I will enslave all the pretty ladies. Nah. I’m going to do a few shows abroad this year, by the end of this year we will have a lot of shows everywhere. Hopefully, a TV show will happen thus far, it’s been about the money. Someone should pay us a lot this year.
CE: Any tips for people who want to become a successful stand-up comedian like you?
Quit. I don’t want the competition. No, seriously. Write and perform. There’s no other way. Good comedians are hard to find. To start doing Comedy is easy but, getting good requires hell of a lot of work. Also, if you’re just starting out - don’t call yourself a comedian. Do a few shows, spend a year at least. Perform at least 50 shows in a year. Write a lot. There’s no shortcut.
CE: Favourite subject for your shows? Other than jokes about women.
Travel. That’s my next show. Travelling Pants is something I’m really excited about. So, lots of travel jokes are being written.
CE:With over 200 shows under its belt, Pant On Fire has come a long way. What do you aim to achieve next?
The next step is to do a hell of a lot more shows over the next year across the country. And, we will. We’re planning to take stand up to the next logical level.
The Biere Club will present The Comedy Club with Sorabh Pant tonight (7:30 pm onwards). Sorabh will also be launching his book ‘The Wednesday Soul’ followed with a laughathon standup act