If you are a fan of stand up acts as we are, you would not have missed Atul Khatri’s videos, tweets and shows. He is one of the members of the East India Comedy, a group of incredible stand-up comics whose shows and YouTube videos are a rage (and they are also the guys behind the Bollywood razzies, Ghanta Awards). Atul, who proudly claims to bring the 40 plus perspective to comedy (he started his stand-up career in his mid-40s!), will share his experiences in Dubai, along with some equally funny comics, for Nitin Mirani’s show Komic Sutra. The other funny men (and one woman) who are all set to get you laughing are Amit Tandon, Jeeveshu Ahuluwalia, Salman Qureshi, Rahul Subramanian and Aditi Mittal and of course, Nitin himself. It will be one helluva funny ride as Atul promises!
When and how did you decide to be a stand-up comic?
It was my New Year resolution of 2012. I was 44, running a very successful business but still wanted to do something different in my life. You could also call it mid-life crisis. So I registered for the first open mic of 2012. It was on February 2, 2012. I wrote a set but didn’t tell anyone except my wife. I took her along so that I don’t commit suicide on the way back (if I bombed)! Then I went on stage and did stand-up for the first time ever in my life.
What do you and your fellow-comics have in store for Dubai this time?
Komic Sutra 2016 has a super line-up. We have the local boy, Nitin (Mirani) who is such a fantastic host. Amit Tandon and Jeeveshu Ahluwalia from Delhi will add the Punjabi flavour, and we have the ever-effervescent Aditi Mittal, Salman, a super talented local boy, the super-funny Rahul Subramanian and me, the naughty Sindhi. So it will be a total paisa vasool show for Dhs150 which is basically Dhs20 per comic!
Your profile says you provide the 40 plus perspective? Does age matter in comedy?
Stand-up comedy is always personal . The best jokes comes from personal stories. I am 48 and have a longer timeline than a younger comic. I have experienced school, college, marital, parental life – and survived a mother in law as well!
East India Comedy has produced some absolutely brilliant videos in the past. How do you go about it? What’s the process like?
We are seven of us at East India Comedy. Even though we are seven, we have a super tuning with each other and I think that is our biggest strength. Each of us have our unique strengths. For e.g. Sapan (Verma) is great at directing, Azeem (Banatwalla) is a super-fast writer, Kunal (Rao) is great at the economics of the production and I just contribute to make the entire group look mature, haha. I could tell you the process of creating these super videos but will have to kill you first (laughs)!
What are your favourite topics when it comes to comedy?
Comedy is everywhere. It’s your art to find and expand on it. Anywhere in the world you open the newspaper in the morning you have four hours of comedic material staring at you. A lot of my material comes from personal experiences, observations and politics.
Who, in your opinion, is the funniest person in India right now? (And he or she need not be a comic!).
The funniest person in India in my opinion is Mr. Arnab Goswami – every night he comes on Indian TV for hours and screams at others after inviting them and he has been doing this for years consistently. I am sure he is super funny when he is off TV.
Which group, in your opinion, needs to loosen up – politicians, Bollywood actors, cricketers or industrialists?
EVERYONE needs to loosen up in India NOW. Every morning people wake up and look at ways to get offended. It has become our national pastime. Chill guys! You live one life – don’t waste it getting offended on anything and everything !
If you were given a chance to invite a current newsmaker on your show who would it be and what would you ask him/her?
Given a chance I would like to invite Rahul Gandhi, grill him and finally get it from him that he never intended to be in politics in the first place. That poor guy is definitely in the wrong place. Maybe he wants to start a restaurant out of the country. Maybe he wants to be a stand-up comedian. I don’t know. I want him to confess on my show !
WHO’S ACTNG FUNNY
They make the whole world laugh. But what or who made them howl with laughter recently? We asked the Komic Sutra gang…
Nitin Mirani: Right now it’s my three-month-old nephew Laksh who makes me laugh by just being himself. As a comic many a times we miss out on laughs because we are too busy making a set out of a situation. But I get my regular dose watching America’s funniest home videos (yes I still watch it) along with my interacting with Regular people doing Irregular things. Also having a sold-out Komic Sutra makes me laugh the most (hint, hint).
Salman Qureshi: In terms of comedians I love Michel McIntyre. He makes everyday stuff really funny. On a personal level it's my fiancé. She is quick-witted and always able to see the funny side of things. She's so funny that I'm worried she'll take my job. Recently, I proposed to her at a beach side breakfast place. The idea was to have a proposal by the beach at sunrise. The receptionist told me we couldn’t reach the beach and advised us to catch the sunrise later. I told her the sunrise isn’t like the Dubai fountains that happens every 10 mins, is it? But the receptionist didn't get it.
Jeeveshu Ahluwalia: My dosage of laughter comes from the dysfunctional family I have. It is in such utter chaos that we find humor even in the everyday ordeal of not being married, being overweight, being divorced, not being tall enough etc. My family members including my dogs and my maid are funnier that I am so I just sit and get insulted all day long and then go on the stage to get sympathy out of it for myself.
Amit Tandon: My kids make me laugh the most as my 11-year-old son is a great mimic and my 10-year-old daughter tells the most absurd stories. It's also a refreshing change from the world of adults.
Rahul Subramanian: I have always had a thing for absurd humour, basically jokes which do not make sense and hence are funny. Mostly because not making sense comes naturally to me and I am able to appreciate the beauty in absurdity. I also love silly humour, the Mr. Bean style. I remember being part of a stand-up lineup recently, wherein I decided to sit in the audience till I got my chance. This comic friend of mine was just absolutely setting the place on fire. People are laughing uncontrollably. But I found myself laughing the most when he almost slipped on stage. The audience, on the other hand, completely missed it. That is why I believe most stand-up comics have the worst sense of humour. Being funny and having a sense of humour is completely different. The audience who come to watch us, on the other hand, have a much better sense of humour :).
INFO: Komic Sutra 2016 will be held on 14 April, 8pm onwards at Dusit Dubai. Tickets available on platinumlist.ae