Q. Describe something you’re passionate about. How do you learn more about it? What makes it so appealing?
Passion is the driving force of life and makes it worth living it to the fullest. Bringing a smile to a tired face is what makes my soul happy. I started pursuing stand-up comedy in the first year of college, and since then, I have been living the dream.
The first stand-up comedy show I attended was in the summer of 2019. I had just graduated from high school. I was excited about the new beginnings. However, the fear of leaving my friends behind was quite daunting. I often caught myself dwelling on those boring geography lectures, which I always wanted to run away from. Smiling to the memories of the mud fight during rains. The chair in my room seemed foreign, I wanted to sit on the desks on which we had inscribed our names. It was during this phase of confusion, anxiety, and excitement that I spotted an advertisement for a comedy show in my city. I quickly booked the tickets and reached the venue. The main performer of the evening was Kanan Gill, one of the most versatile comedians in the industry. Throughout the show, I found myself clenching my stomach as tears of laughter rolled down my eyes. Suddenly, the worries in my life had slightly blurred. I was highly intrigued by this complex art form and its effect on the audience. I decided to try tinkering with it a little.
Within a few days, I started browsing through the internet and gathering all the information about stand-up comedy and how to write a comedy set. I began attending comedy shows more frequently and taking notes about all the relevant details of the performances. I also started interacting with the comedians to learn about their thought processes while preparing for the show. Once I was convinced that I had learned enough by spectating, I decided to perform on stage.
So did my first performance leave the audience in fits of laughter? Absolutely not. I was extremely nervous; my voice was shaking; I forgot a few jokes and did not adhere to the set time limit. My first performance made me realize that stand-up comedy is a complex art form with several layers. It is impossible to master it within weeks or even months. Learning comedy is a perpetual process. But the best method to refine this art is by observing and experimenting. I often sit with my fellow comics to discuss the script. This exercise offers me great insight and dynamic perspectives.
Whenever I am on stage, I observe the audience and note their reaction to each joke. I also record my performance so that I can analyze it and identify the gaps. I believe it is healthy to attend the shows of other comedians. It helps me understand the newer techniques that the comics employ in their acts.
During the last year, I have learned that comedy is more than just writing and delivering jokes. It is a medium through which one can communicate and bring to the surface social taboos and primitive customs. This makes stand-up comedy even more appealing to me. In recent years, most comics have challenged the stigmas associated with mental traumas, have spoken about anxiety, depression, and other related topics. Political satire is often used to question the wrong political and social actions. Stand-up comedy is a powerful tool to make the audience aware and challenge social evils.
Stand-up comedy has given me a platform to express myself. The stage feels like home, a place that offers comfort and tremendous power. After every performance, there is always a staggering thunder of clapping and laughter, which fills the room with newfound energy. And this energy, this love, these smiles keep me motivated to climb that stage again and narrate my story.