Loud belly aching guffaws are always part of the deal when talking to stand up comedian Kunal Rao, says Neha K Kulkarni.
What made you shift from the straight-laced chartered accountant to being a stand up comedian?
My bosses used to physically whip me if I didn’t get their coffee right. Ok I’m kidding! I guess at some point I knew I wanted to get into something creative and creative accounting is frowned upon by the Income-tax authorities. So, I quit my job in London to pursue a writing and comedy career in India. I was super-lucky that I had the guidance of Sorabh Pant, an old college friend and now one of India’s top notch comedians. He gave me an opportunity, encouraged me, and then there was no looking back. My life almost feels like a classic romantic comedy, if you ask me.
With so many comedians out there, what makes you different than the rest?
I’m a Chartered Accountant, for goodness sakes! I consider this my big test. I have gone through the “suffering” that every great artist must go through. Well honestly, I like to believe that I have a joke for everyone. I have a few intelligent jokes, but I have some Bollywood and relationship references and I do some quirky physical humour too. So it’s good to be able to have a little something for everyone.
Do you think that his profession has a short shelf life? How does one sustain?
Some people believe so. But frankly, it’s like any other job – you have to keep up with the trends. It’s not like we are on screen and our assignments don’t depend on how young and pretty we look (thank God!).
As long as you work hard and are willing to take a few hits, I think this is a very sustainable profession. Also, most comedians are writers first, so even if there are fewer stage performances, there’s always writing work to fall back on. This is why Sorabh Pant and I formed East India Co.medy, today, which is India’s busiest comedy company with regular properties across the country. We also do a lot of writing work for events, films and online shows.
What are you looking forward to most in 2013?
You mean besides world peace? Well, I’m looking to take Holy Krao! to larger audiences. I’ve already performed it at NCPA Godrej in Mumbai, but will hopefully hit the big seaters before the end of the year. Also, a trip to London to get a taste of British stiff upper lip humour looks imminent. Having lived there for two years, I’m curious to see how well my material works there.
Where: Out of the Blue, E-square Lobby Level
For further details click here.