Packing a punch: Comedian Rahul Dua returns to Bengaluru with newer roles

Comedian and host of Shark Tank India Season 2, Rahul Dua is returning to the city after an extended hiatus, ahead of which he chats with CE

Published: 28th January 2023 07:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2023 07:59 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU:   From being one of the stand out performers on Season 1 of Prime Video’s Comicstaan to hosting the show’s Season 3 season finale and now helming the reality investment show, Shark Tank India, comedian Rahul Dua has come a long way in the last few years.

After an extended hiatus, the 28-year-old is returning to Bengaluru in February, as part of the India tour of his show Oh Hello! Originally conceived in 2019, the show was put on hold for more than two years thanks to the pandemic. Now, armed with a fresh perspective and newer material, Dua has resumed the tour and hopes to offer a unique take on the lockdown, Indian families and their many quirks.

“There’s a reason why the show is called Oh Hello! There are surprises for sure. It’s a family-friendly show, revolving around my experiences, daily observations and anecdotes about what it was like to live with family during the pandemic. Essentially, the weird and eccentric behaviours that I noticed,” Dua explains.

“The material has evolved drastically from the time I started working on it. My comedic sensibilities have also evolved since, so a few bits that were on the show before are no longer there.”

Before he resumed the tour, Dua was busy filming for Shark Tank India Season 2, having replaced Ranvijay Singha as host. Terming it as an ‘exhilarating experience that was unlike he had ever done before’, Dua points out it was full of challenges and new learnings despite his previous experience hosting live shows. “Hosting for television was an entirely different challenge. There are no parallels between hosting a television show and hosting a live comedy show. In a live show, all the pressure is on the host to keep the show running smoothly. If a comic bombs, you then have to get the viewers’ energy up for the next comic. But on Shark Tank, the emphasis was not on the host. S/he is  more like a replacement for a voice-over artiste,” he shares. 

A popular comic in India and outside, Dua finds viewers abroad tending to be more receptive to his material. “Since my shows feature over 60 per cent Hindi, most of my fans outside the country are of Indian origin. Yet, the audience over there are more receptive than in India. Maybe because my shows take them down  memory lane and help them relate back home. Also, once you go overseas, you have a better understanding of cultural appropriation. In a way, they are far more accepting. But back home, especially in places like my hometown Ludhiana, audiences aren’t as exposed to layered comedy,” he explains, adding that he doesn’t face such problems in cities such as Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai, etc. 

Meanwhile, despite his continued success, Dua says that the ‘inherent insecurity’ within the industry means that being a comedian can often be stressful. “Every comedian is replaceable from a brand standpoint. Whenever someone wants to host a standup show, all they want to do is have a good time for an hour. It doesn’t really matter which comedian they book. Hence, the industry is inherently insecure. No matter how established you are, you are always wondering why you didn’t get a particular gig. And this can really take a toll on a comic’s mental health,” he shares.


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