CHENNAI: The first thought of any YouTube fanatic after reading the word ‘Pretentious’ is ‘Pretentious Movie Reviews’! YouTube star and standup comic Kanan Gill gained popularity along with fellow standup comic Biswa Kalyan Rath for their hilarious take on certain mainstream Bollywood films. He began to do a lot of web content with shows like ‘How Insensitive’ and a web series called ‘Better Life Foundation’ along with Naveen Richard and Sumukhi Suresh. Today, Kanan has a fan following of 202,123 on Facebook, 287,318 on Twitter, and 411,657 subscribers on YouTube.
City Express catches up with this funny man ahead of his show in the city. Excerpts of our interview...
What can the Chennai audience expect this time? Have you brought in any new content?
There is new silly content and some secret old content I haven’t done in Chennai before.
In retrospect, what are the different things that contributed to you as a comedian? Though you chose software, little things must have added on to your comic personality. Do you ever think about how and what complimented your talent while growing up?I’ve always liked creating things, whether it was an essay or a drawing or a song. Something uniquely mine from nothing has excited me. I’ve also craved attention and approval for a lot of things in my life, and I think at the confluence of those two desires lies my comic personality.
What was your first open mic experience like?
I had scribbled some thoughts on paper, and I intended to go up and improvise. I had also called about four of my friends who made up about 100% of the audience. In spite of that, I think I got about one laugh, and that one laugh was enough to get me hooked.
Which standup comic makes you laugh?
All my friends from Bengaluru.
Have you ever been threatened for something you mocked in your show?
Not really threatened, but abused. That’s easy to handle.
What would you say to the 10-year-old Kanan Gill now?
Things will work out just fine.
Considering your busy schedules, are there times when you forget to laugh yourself?
I stay with two comedians so there’s always someone making me laugh. It’s a pretty great life.
Are you superstitious or believe in lucky charms? According to another interview, you do get a little nervous before a show, what makes it go away?
Well, I used to have special standup socks, but I don’t have those any more. I try to channel nervousness into energy. Whenever I don’t get nervous, I just feel bored on stage and those shows are
Being a part of a web series, do you think they might outshine television sitcoms one day?
Eventually, sure, but not anytime soon. Maybe ‘Better Life Foundation’ season two will do the trick.
Are you working on any new web series?
Yup, but it’s all secret right now.
What is your biggest fear?
A topic you would never make fun of?
For photo sessions or selfies, do people just expect you to give funny poses because you are a comedian?
Well, if I’m not tired, I do something weird anyway. I’m always interested when people ask for weird things.
How do you work on your content?
I try to fail at life so I can succeed at standup. Mainly thinking about ideas and then fleshing them out on stage over shows. It usually takes a couple of shows for a bit to form or be thrown in the bin.
(Catch Kanan Gill live on November 26, 7 pm at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Hall, Lady Andal School.Tickets available at bookmyshow)
‘Pretentious Movie Reviews’ or ‘How Insensitive’?
US elections or Modi’s declaration
Sanity or insanity?
Insanity (with Shawn T!)
Your favourite snack?
Currently Bun Bhujia. I’m in awful shape.
What do you think about while in the can?
I analyse the contents of shampoo.
ET or Hogwarts?
Kanan Gill, the comic or Kanan Gill, the YouTuber
Kanan Gill who does everything he thinks is fun.