Papa CJ has made everybody laugh. But can he also make people happy? Wait... isn’t that the same thing? “Not really,” CJ points out, and continues. “I can make you laugh for 45 minutes, but lasting happiness will come only if you really connect with what I say and do.” The emphasis on the latter is sharp.
The Papa CJ Happiness Project is the instrument through which he will host fundraising shows for charitable causes. It debuts on May 19 in Delhi with a show that brings you his best material from the last 10 years. Picture Wala, a not-for-profit foundation, benefits from the collections.
The happiness trail will then move to Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Pune, Jaipur and Vadodara, in support of different causes, that including women’s empowerment, child education and welfare, and animal welfare.
Spreading laughter, he believes, is a one subset of spreading happiness and as a human being with the gift of cheerful gab, he would also like to participate in other subsets. “Occasionally when I’m on tour, I do free shows in hospitals for doctors, nurses, patients and their guests. It goes a long way in contributing to someone’s tough situation,” he says.
After he has finished speaking, he sips lukewarm water and prepares to tell us an incident that he never forgets. “I once performed at a hospital in Singapore. A man in that room was having a really bad day as his son had been in a car accident. The boy was paralysed waist down and had been in coma for 25 days, uncertain that he would wake up again,” he tells us. For the 45 minutes that the boy’s father watched CJ perform, he laughed. The pain in his eyes was still visible but the laughter on his face eased his despair. “I believe that celebrityhood is a currency and since I’ve apparently accrued a little in the bank, I’d like to make sure I spend it making a positive impact,” he says. Some day, he would also like to develop content specially for children.
Happiness on his personal front is an exploration that he’s still pursuing. It’s found at the intersection of pleasure, challenge and meaning, for him. He’s trying to up the level on the latter two, he shares. “Also, I sometimes confuse happiness with contentment. And the problem with being content is that it could make you complacent and lazy,” he says.
Currently in the process of writing a book based on his autobiographical show called Naked, he will bring it to stands in 2018. Till then, all roads lead to writing the script of happiness for those who really need it.
Good to know: May 19, at Kamani Auditorium, at 7.30 pm.
Tickets available at bookmyshow.com