Sumit Anand who after engineering, MBA and 2 bank jobs decided to pursue his calling – Stand up comedy. Read on to know more about him.
Tell us about your life journey in brief?
I think Led Zeppelin song titled ‘Dazed and Confused’ describes it best.
I took a lot of salt for trying weird stuff all the time but I guess, thats like a mandate from society when it comes to finding what you really want to do. Nobody ever has a dream story going ‘Well, I went to school and then I figured out what I wanted to do’, its always messed-up.
In my case, I went to my wife 2 months into our marriage saying “Ok honey, I think I would try to become a coder now”, that after completing engineering and an MBA and 2 Bank Jobs. She of course thought of leaving me but then, I think my cute crying puppy face at that moment held her.
What prompted you to become a stand up comedian ?
There was no prompt. You simply try several things no matter how ridiculous they sound and then, that one thing somehow strikes the balance between these 3 things — “I like doing this”, “I happen to do this well’, and ‘People seem to appreciate it in both kind and kind enough to pay’. Bang. Done.
Tell us about your team, if you have?
Me and my dumb thoughts, as of now.
What type of content you prefer when it comes to stand up comedy?
I want to say ‘Edgy’ stuff but who doesn’t think their stuff is not edgy. The whole reason anyone would make an idea into a stand up set is because the person thinks its edgy.
Having said that, you tend to observe gaps in rationality. Often, you see things and go – “Ahh, there is something there which I can work on “. Like in Railway station they make an announcement saying ” Kripiya Anjaan Vyakti se dosti nah darien” (Please don’t make friends with unknown people), and my first thought was “How do I make new friends then?”. Now, its about crafting and taking that thought further.
What is your dream/ vision?
To just have fun doing this. Stand up is tough, scary, success is its biggest irony and you basically chose to do this to have fun in life.
If at any point during this process, I am not having fun, I would rather do a regular job and have more money and not get those looks from relatives when I say “Well uncle! I make strangers laugh telling them stories about you guys!”
What difficulties you face as an stand up comedian?
Balance between what I like and what audience desire – Often, there is a huge gap in things you like to do and things you end up creating. I know a Punjabi joke will kill, but I don’t like to do it, its a personal call. I will rather make another joke about my maid instead but that doesn’t kill that much. Now, the reason why it doesn’t kill that much is because I don’t know how to craft it perfectly yet. If I had, it would kill more than a regional caste joke.
Fail but you don’t fail : As much as it is known that one should ‘try and fail’, I still don’t see many people truly implementing that. Trying new things doesn’t mean only trying only new stuff, but also new styles of comedy within your act, new forms of writing, new manners of delivering, not using standard comedy writing rules, things like that.
As you become slightly established (so to say), you brain starts telling you to play safe and try not to fail because people expect good stuff from you each time, each fucking time on stage. Countering that keeping your long term growth is mind is mostly easier said than done.
I also believe that for the first 5 years, you should keep telling yourself every morning “You are a shit comedian”, it will keep you grounded and also quite true.
What inspires you or keeps you going?
Having no other option.
Imagine yourself stuck on a deserted road, at a distance you see a car with destination ‘Heaven’ already stored in its GPS. All you have to do is fuel the car at regular intervals until it reaches Heaven. Now, if you have already discovered how to fuel that car, would you even think about doing anything else?
Any fun/ memorable incident?
Its fun everytime I go on stage and people fall for my jokes (so to say) and its an incident every time I fail and get those looks after the show saying ‘Why do you even do this, your soul is not funny and it will never be funny!”.
What advice you’d like to give to someone who is interested/newbie in stand up comedian?
Watch a lot of standup, Internet has more uses than the obvious one.
Most of you are not born funny, but still can be funny. Its a craft one can learn to be funny on stage. Its funny how that happens but thats how it is.
We are all newbies. As I said, for the first five years, everyone is a shit comedian, there is not an impossible gap b/w skills, newbies can totally catch up provided they give it a shot properly.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes. Subscribe to my blog, I write honestly and equally importantly, often — chantanand.com
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