1. Hello Brutal


I’ve been meaning to start this documentation for about two months now. But, I thought getting some new jokes, before starting to talk about how they’re not working, might be a better plan. Also, the point of this blog is to be free from the pressure of being funny and purely vent out my regular off-stage escapades. So, if you want the ‘Cool on social media- oh he’s so funny Deep’,  I have a YouTube channel, you can check that out instead. I know, I’ll upload more videos soon, stop fretting.

So, for those who know, and those who don’t (you don’t really stalk, do you?)  I moved to the United States in January 2017 to take up a course in advertising as a sneaky excuse to figure the comedy scene in its birthplace, New York.

Honestly, it’s an uphill task to delve into the specifics of all the shows I’ve done here till now. But, the plan of action is to at least initially establish the stark differences in the Indian and American comedy scenarios, so it becomes easier from hereon.

Here are where the stakes at. The Indian English (Hinglish, to be honest)  Stand Up Comedy showbiz is roughly about 6-7 years old. Whereas, the American comedy circuit started off in the 1950’s (approx). Which means, it’s almost 10 times bigger, 10 times more chewed up and 10 times more brutal. Oh 10 is an unjustified number for that last one. All of India has just 3 legit comedy clubs, Manhattan alone has 12 (I’m just counting the good ones). India according to me has 150-175 comics, US has 1,00,000-1,10,000. You get where this is going right?

So, yeah leaving the comfort of my city, crowds and CLC, I knew I was entering a fire circus. Which is why, I did something I would never have the guts to do back home, especially cause I was getting paid for gigs. I rebooted. It’s something I’ve always told myself, “When you don’t know where you’re going, just go back to the start.” Also, very honestly, I had no option. My last few months in Mumbai were creatively the worst months of my 4-year comedy stint. No substantial thoughts, no time investment, and the saddest of them all, no regret for being fuckall.

Coming back, so I discarded 45 minutes worth material (will be putting it out slowly, so you guys don’t forget me) and made a small plan on how to restart. For the first two weeks, I didn’t get on stage. I purely invested in catching all types of shows. Saw the pro-nights at the Greenwich Comedy Club and the Broadway Comedy Club, a rising star type thingy at the Village Lantern, a funeral-ish open mic at The Creek and the Cave and long form improv at The PIT. What fun but expensive that was. A Friday night show at Greenwich is 25 dollars plus two drinks minimum inside. That’s 3,000 rupees, for one freaking show. I could hear my dad’s voice echo in the background, saying, “That is someone’s monthly salary naalayak”. In addition to that, I also started watching one comedy special a day. Try it. It makes travel time really interesting.

Anyway, what that basically did was, it gave me a sneak peek into the comedy/crowd culture and a sense of the playing field. Next, I wrote 3 minutes of new material and showed up at an open mic at the Creek and the Cave. The great thing about NY is that you have a minimum of 10 mics on every day of the week (check them out on freemics.com), so getting on stage isn’t a problem. The problem is getting in front of an actual crowd. 90 percent of the mics have only comics in the audience, and we all know how much a human loves to laugh at another human he/she considers as competition. Also, I was getting on stage after a month so the rust was factoring in, plus these basements are super unnerving. So, this is what happens, I go up there after 21 people, talk for three minutes, just create sound, not get any familiar homo-sapien reaction, just pure sound and in return soak in the silence, get off and leave, like nothing ever happened. Did this 4 times in one week at different clubs, so shame doesn’t correlate to geography.

This is getting really long and I think I should stop for now. I’ll leave you with this though. I’m two months in. I’ve done 16 shows, out of which 2 were proper shows in front of medium-sized audiences, and honestly those two were few of the most fulfilling ones I’ve done in a really long time. They made bombing at the other 14 so worth it. I’ve reached tight 7 minutes. March is here. The aim is to have a universal 60 minutes that I can tour in December. Not sure if I’ll make it. The process however is liberating. My outlook has had a complete turn-around and now comedy is becoming more innate and sacred with each passing day.

Thanks for reading this. If you have any questions or want me to talk about something, feel free to comment. I’ll be happy to share. Will try making this a weekly thing. For now, it’s a goodbye friends and hello brutal.

7 years in.

Statutory Warning: This is a super emo blog, writing it cause this feeling of being overjoyed is very hard to contain.

This November marks 7 years of me doing comedy. Fuck.

November 2011, I went on stage for the first time at this open mic in Bandra at Mocha Mojo. Invited 40 of my friends, cause I had no clue how embarrassing it would be. Noob move. Doesn’t matter now.

*Breakaway thought* Have you ever written something where your words just don’t seem right for what you’re feeling? They make the purity of an experience, sound shallow. This is one of those times. I’ll continue nonetheless. See, nonetheless, who uses that word when they’re feeling ecstatic?

Getting back. I never knew those 4 minutes on stage would become the way I start looking at the world. So much has changed since then. The Indian comedy scene, my idea of what’s funny and more than anything, me. I always say comedy is the best and worst thing to happen to a comic. Worst, cause you become this critic of all things good and best because there are days like these, where you look back and are glad for how blessed you are to have a view of the world that makes the perils of living, marginally less taxing.

The first 5 years of my stint, I did comedy for all the wrong reasons. Money, views, validation and some more things that OML promises you. It was cool being a comic. It still is I guess on dating sites. That last two years however, have been anything but that. New York happened, life happened and I’d never thought I’d be the comic I am now. I never imagined I would get to be me on stage. The real me. Not put on a show, do animated tricks for pity laughs or do any sell-out shit. It’s so liberating. To not give a fuck. To not have the pressure of doing comedy for money or anything stupid that takes away from this feeling of purely having fun on stage.

Feels perfectly fine to not be famous, fill stadiums, or have the pressure to upload videos. Feels good to have realized that art is not a rat race. There’s no coming first here. In fact, the joy of doing better at a famous comedian’s show is bloody great.

I am 7 years in. And after all this while, I finally think I’m doing it right. It took that long. Took a lot of practice and prayers. A lot of letting go in life, so I don’t care on stage. It took getting over bombing, seeing others get ahead and being patient with myself. I’ll say this once again, it’s not a race. People who came after me are doing way better by many definitions, but this feeling of having a great time every time I’m up there with no pressure on comedy to help me have a good life, is so so exciting.

I don’t know the comic I’ll be 2-3 years from now. Probably still be just someone who’s been in the scene long enough and didn’t make it big, or not, who knows. However, this stage of looking back, being glad for the mistakes, learnings and now hopeful, puts a smile on my face.

*Award speech paragraph time* I want to thank every one who’s been a part of this. Ashish Shakya for helping me get on stage, every friend who supported, mostly the ones who didn’t, producers, venue owners and some other comics. Some. Haha.

I think I’m lighter after writing this. I felt more articulately than I could pen. But, that’s cool. It’s back to hitting the stage and having a good time to see what else comes, one show at a time. It’s been fun though. You can now go back to having an average day. I know it’s not going great, you wouldn’t have read till here if you had better things to do.

Much love friends. Come for shows, okay?






You Might Headline, But Will You Heal?

I realized I’ve been looking at this entire comedy thing very differently.

Until now, whenever someone asked me what I felt about the entire conversation around misery birthing comedy, I held a very strong opinion. I believed that tragedy was the only way to become funnier and the more your life got fucked up, the better you became as a comic. The more you had to vent and talk about, the more material you got.

This delusion grew so strong over time that in a very sad but true way, I started craving misery. Every time something bad happened, instead of dealing with it as a normal human being, I tried writing jokes about it. Instead of sitting down, feeling what I truly felt, and making peace with it. I made it a piece for stage.

As most people would say, that’s the exact reason art exists and this what it means to express. The entire beauty of the stage is to help you deal with the bad shit in your life and make you get over it by joking about it. Well, is it though? Is it imperative to have more bad experiences to get better at what you do? Or more importantly is it the only way?

Here’s what happened. Life changed and a lot of things led me to realizing that I was very bottled up as a person. Years of suppressing what I actually feel under the pretense of making fun of it, made me push down my emotions. I was really not over anything I was talking about on stage. In fact, I had tricked myself so smartly to repeat the same things that affected me as jokes every time I got up there, but still ignore the matter completely in real life. We as comics think laughing over it, means it’s over. We don’t realize that we use the stage as an escape to not feel anything in its entirety. Whether that’s sadness, anger, jealousy, whatever. We sometimes save up what we should’ve felt in reality to joke about it in front of strangers who have no idea about the depth of what you’re making fun of.

I’m not saying don’t express. That isn’t the point. All I’m saying is, don’t escape. Use the stage to laugh about what happened, not ignore what needs attention. Because craving more misery might increase the length of your set, but once you’re off that stage and the crowd’s gone home. Will you truly be a happy person? Not happy cause you had a great set. Happy knowing that however your set did, life on the outside, the rest 23 hours and 30 minutes of your life are fine. Will you be happier crying about something that hurt you, giving it time to heal and then writing about it in retrospect to feel good? Or Will you be happier shutting off from what’s there to deal with because it’s the tougher thing to do and hit an open mic to rant about it ? Honestly, it’s a choice. It’s also a choice we can make any time. Because if you work hard enough and are a funny person, you’ll eventually headline a show and get big, but when your glory days are over, would you have healed?

Choose. Choose, if you want to be a stereotypical comic who hates his/her life and enjoys how good it is for life to get fucked up, only to to spend time with other comics who might be using this also as an escape. Or if you want to take the harder way of being a human who loves doing comedy and makes stage a reflection of your happy self only to present a fun perspective about what you’re done dealing with.

But, just remember. It’s a choice.

Thanks for reading. Let me know your thoughts?

More posts soon.

P.S Don’t listen to Snape.



People Actually Read This Shit

I stopped writing this blog in my time in New York for a bunch of reasons. The biggest one being that I thought nobody really gave a fuck about it. Turns out I was wrong. Four people did. That’s a huge number when it comes to blog virality. So, it’s those four people who are responsible for me resuming my written therapy that comes across as barely-insightful statements about comedy and life. Fuck writing this actually feels good. I’m getting one of those feelings people get when they ride a cycle after a decade. It’s shaky but a minute into it feels bloody liberating. Difference is I’ve forgotten how to cycle, so my experience of a good bicycle ride comes from vanilla looking insurance ads where a child or a grandparent is going full throttle into the distance on a ladybird before Bajaj Allianz fades in as text.

So, I finished my ad course in New York and graduated as a copywriter. It’s a position that I absolutely love explaining to my extended family cause they have no clue on how advertising works. They all go so ‘If you write the ad, who thinks of it?’. My favourite has been, ‘YOU get to decide what comes on TV, YOU?’. Sweet relatives, aren’t they?

Yeah, getting done with that meant my student visa expiring along with my glorious comedy career in dark basements that I had started getting super comfortable in. I came back to Mumbai in mid-December and nobody told me landing back home meant crashing into your past. An old-self you had left behind. Now, I don’t mean to sound like a snob but going to a new country and living alone for the first time, mostly transforms you into a better version of yourself. It’s a you that’s more carefree because you’re devoid of parental or societal pressure of any kind. There’s no reputation or basic fundamental idea of who you are. You be the you, you always wanted to be, cause it’s a fresh start. The return home isn’t as magnificent as you imagined. Of course, there’s love and pampering. Catching up with your best friends, eating at places you missed because you were away eating Indian food made by Bangladeshi’s and pretending like it was authentic and so on.  However, the facade of familiarity fades pretty fast. Everyone and I mean everyone is waiting to judge what you’ve turned into. They usually want you to have turned into a prick, because how else will they justify America’s nasty image in their heads.

Honestly, I was super kicked to come back. In my time there I thought I had become super resilient and exactly knew who I was and what I wanted from my life, art and career. It was set in stone and nothing could influence me or so to say corrupt me at all. I thought I had outgrown the hostility, bad talk and the lure of money and fame that is pre-dominant in the Indian comedy scene because of its nascent nature. I make things like fame and money sound evil, cause I genuinely think the earlier they creep into your comedy career, the worse you become as a comic. I have yet to be proven wrong.


Two months in and I’m back to being the below average up for bitching comic who’s best excuse now is that the audience here doesn’t get my half-baked act. I’m not even beating myself up or self-deprecating more than I should. It’s the truth or at least how I see it. I haven’t been able to come up with one single new joke or premise that I think is really funny. The picture I’ve attached above is a screenshot of my voice memos and accurately represent my current career graph. Now, here’s the thing. It’s not like I didn’t bomb in New York. I was worse. For comics, reading this and thinking how’s that even humanly possible. Let me tell you, it really is. There’s a difference though. THERE I DIDN’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT BEING JUDGED. I used to walk into a mic, do my bit. Enjoy the stage more than anything, take every bombing as a hit that was making me stronger and a better comic. It’s because comedy there is about growth. Everyone knows it’s a long process that takes years and is super tedious. Nobody expects you to be funny. If you turn out to be funny then great, if not, lol who cares about you anyway. That’s not the case here. ALMOST every time I’ve taken stage here, all I’ve felt is unadulterated hostility. Mentally, everyone’s made it. And if you bomb even at an open mic. You SUCK!

I’ll be honest. It might also be my personal reaction to the way I’m seeing the scene but I’m all about vibes and coming from a super brutal but supportive scene. I know this feels monumentally unpleasant. That said. I know I have to work around it. I can’t sit here and make an excuse for my set or me not working hard enough. It’s just that things didn’t turn out how I’d imagined. Also, probably because I thought I’d kill. That’s the worst way to take stage. Cause you start blaming external forces for not being able to have a great time. It’s not about your set then, it’s about the outcome. Here’s the deal. I’m going to start fresh. Not only cause it sounds adventurous, but also cause I don’t know what else to do. It’s my only shot to not hate myself as a comic, and the scene that has nursed me for years. I guess that’s what figuring the scene is all about. Not expecting anything. I had a picture of how I’d do and that let me down. I guess starting over and trying to love what I do, might help me not only grow but learn from the comics who are slaying it in this scene.

I guess I’m done with venting out my insecurities for now and I hope to write a more positively skewed post up next. Yes, there will be more posts. I need to deal with this shit, and your one view might help. In case you want to see me do this start fresh thing. I’ve started this mic that runs every Sunday morning at the Cuckoo Club. Drop in friends. I might need a hug.




A Boy Is No One

I haven’t written a post in about two months. The best part about that is nobody noticed/cared. I realized that’s the beauty of being unknown. It’s what made this year the best comedy phase of my 5-year journey as a so called ‘comic’. Not like I was getting stopped at streets back home by fans and drowning in cash even during demonetization because my fatness jokes were path-breaking and I deserved red roses to be eloquently hurled every time I stepped on stage. But, I was some guy my Facebook friends and a few comedy regulars knew did something in and around comedy. However, moving to New York made me something I didn’t realize I truly needed to be, and that was, a nobody.

When I entered my first open mic here with 35 comics and absolutely no audience, even before I reached that stage in a cold Queens basement, my ego got buried way below. I was on and off even before I could register much and this kept happening for months. But, the best part was I took it all with a smile. I knew there was just one thing I had to relentlessly keep doing. Be honest to the art. Keep writing and performing without expecting anything in return because I had nothing to lose. And that’s when I improved the most. Soon, I truly became no one. I eventually started killing harder than I ever had and kept wanting more.

Here’s the thing with laughter though. It corrupts you. However thick skinned you try to be and do not care about how people react to what you say, it’s a necessary evil. How often have you seen a comic you thought was bloody amazing turn into a hack and do sell out jokes to just get the laughs? I have a list. And I genuinely feel sad for them. That was the first thing I had decided in New York, to not be THEM.

So, coming back. The start was great. A lot of learning, falling and moulding. However, soon that stopped. I started bombing differently. Or rather bombing the same way but taking it differently. Suddenly I was getting low after mics and feeling worthless. I bombed straight for the next 6 months with just one single kill. 1/67. Pretty cool track record  for a ‘professional comic’, don’t you agree? I was loving my jokes but they weren’t killing like before. And I couldn’t explain this phase until yesterday, when I read a few of the initial posts in this blog. Which if you have followed, definitely sound more interesting and thoughtful than this naive rant that you’re probably just reading cause you’ve read till here.

The problem is I began expecting. I wanted my jokes to do something. Kill, make me look smart or simply be liked. And even though that’s the desired outcome of comedy, it’s in all honesty pure dishonesty. If you’re delivering a joke with expectations, it’s one of the following few things: safe, half-hearted, lazily-written or just bad.

The most important part of being no one is wanting nothing. It’s about selflessly doing something to not achieve anything. That’s when you grow freely. Learn without liability and achieve without wanting to. I’m not saying don’t be ambitious, just don’t be greedy. It took me 66 silent nights and hundreds of dollars to get reminded of the most basic virtue of doing comedy. And even though I’ve identified the mistake, rectifying it will once again take a lot more unlearning. I have approximately 10 weeks to go here before I head back to Mumbai for a bit. I can do this two ways now. Take the pressure and rush through the process to go back and be this ‘supposedly better comic just because he performed outside’ or lovingly hone the art at my own pace and be true to myself even if that means making no money back home and begging for stage time.

It’s a tough choice if I want to become some one, but a super easy one if I want to feel the happiness of being a no one.

I guess I better start framing request messages for spots then.

The ‘No Ad School’ School of Thought

“You don’t need ad school to learn advertising. It is an art you hone on the job and none of the greats who ever lived and live have stepped into a classroom to learn advertising.”

“Why would you pay someone a fortune to learn how to crack campaigns? That’s plain stupid. You’ll never earn that money back.”

These are the top few arguments you’ll hear, if you embarrassingly mutter “I’m thinking of joining ad school” in an Indian ad agency. Now, I’m not saying that the entire industry is stuck up and doesn’t believe in the importance of formal ad education. I’m just basing this piece on personal experiences and an overall perception analysis of Indian ad creatives.

In 2014, I graduated with a mass media degree and took up my first real job at Grey Mumbai under and with some stellar creatives from the industry. It was a great run. I got to work on some pretty cool clients and produced way more work than an average junior copywriter does. Good times. Then 18 months in, soon after getting a jump, I decided to quit and apply to a highly expensive ad school to exhaust all my savings. Slightly stupid right? I thought so too and so did my parents, and people at work and everyone else I shared this plan with. Then why did I go ahead and pull off a low-res Wake Up Sid? Honestly, I don’t know, but I’m glad I did what I did.

Two years in there is a list of things I’m grateful to Miami Ad School for. A list I know I wouldn’t have made if I was still at an agency as a fairly-new creative. I’m not writing this article to promote the school in particular or disregard the agency way. I’m writing because the experience of learning advertising in a school as opposed to the general perception has been unreal. Moving into a classroom, without any demanding clients, inhuman deadlines and a hilarious pay check just opened up avenues of true and pure learning. Working with teachers was very different from learning under a compassionate boss. I acquired aspects of the craft that never seemed important earlier but significantly altered my thinking process. I picked up UX, design, strategy, digital trends and pop-culture engineering. No job teaches a copywriter that. I became equipped. In addition to the art, I got to build a network of creative directors, influencers and young like-minded thinkers who are not jaded and fiercely passionate. I worked on awards, brand briefs and more importantly personal side projects. It gave me the opportunity to move to New York and study at Madison Avenue, intern at Saatchi and Saatchi and Ogilvy and compete with the toughest professionals in the business. I got to perform stand up in its birthplace at few of the best clubs in the world. These experiences cannot be quantified. I’ve made friends from across the globe, understood cultures and backgrounds, and thinking processes. It takes years in the industry before you get to do that.

I know even though all these points sound tempting, the finances required to fund a course of such repute are extremely high and make a solid argument for anti-ad school propagators. If I got a penny for every time I have heard ‘You will never recover that money’ I would’ve been able to pay my tuition fees with it. I’m aware that fetching out lakhs of rupees isn’t economically viable and even I genuinely had to sort some finances to take it up. My problem however lies with the attitude. The root of the problem is that we’ve been conditioned to the fact that advertising is a last resort industry that shouldn’t require any strategic investment because you’re not going to do this for your entire life. It’s like telling a gardener not to water the plants enough because very few of them become a tree. I’m aware that the payback isn’t magnificent, but if you work your way through, the options you open for yourself are limitless. I’ve managed to win 14 awards in 17 months, executed personal projects that have received immense press and worked on things that might not even qualify as advertising. I’ve learnt to covert any moment, place or thing into an idea, and that’s something that would be more valuable to a brand and more importantly to me. In two years, I’ve moved from a writer who can write decent headlines to a one-person creative boutique who is currently broke but optimistically confident. And not just me, almost all my schoolmates are doing better than average mid-level employees and even most creative directors.

Advertising is changing and the impact it has on the world now is more influential than ever. The world is our canvas to create and what we need today are hybrids and fluid thinkers who have taken the time out to learn the fundamentals correctly, so they can break rules impressively. The job will always teach and self-learning will never stop but dedicating time to grow will convert a stressful job into meditative art. So, the next time someone mentions that they’re planning to go to school to learn advertising I hope you don’t scorn. I reckon you assess your work at whatever level you might be to answer if you’re actually growing and I request you to not discourage a young mind from avoiding a route you think isn’t a way to get better at what you love doing.

The Apocalypse For Art?

I just put out a post two days back but the dog filter debacle wouldn’t let me be at peace till I wrote a piece about it. Now, before I get to dissecting and deciphering the root of the Bhakt blasphemy, there’s one thing I want to make very clear and i.e., I really love my country. From hereon everything I say needs to be understood at a logical and human level. So, I clearly don’t expect narrow-minded creepily-nationalistic nitwits to process any of these arguments, which all of us have always believed to be termed as ‘common sense’.

I’ll be honest. I am scared. I left the country 6 months back to study after getting rid of a 14 month long court case because of an FIR that was filed against me at a comedy show. I took the entire thing with a pinch of salt and thought it was plain bad luck and partly my stupidity. But, I guess I was wrong. This is the beginning of the age of illogical offence taking. Observing the state of affairs objectively, I feel we’re doomed. I am scared it’s the start of the end for the freedom to express without scary nationalistic goons getting riled up without analysing the intent behind a joke. That makes me think, what the fuck do these guys find funny? What do they laugh at? Why don’t we have any creative right-wingers hitting an open mic and teaching us how to be funny? You know why? Because they can’t do jack shit alone. They thrive in numbers. Their strength is in knowing that they are a group (I’d more likely say ‘a gang’) of misdirected and highly bored but crazy enough attention seekers who believe that orange is the new black.

I am scared. It’s simple, they have an edge. They are physically united with a strong leadership and brainwashed ideas born out of poverty and rampant illiteracy. It’s homegrown terrorism. That’s what it is. You can’t even completely blame the police very honestly. It’s an oppressive system even to the protectors and everyone is trying to save their jobs. Have you ever been inside a police station on a casual Thursday? They don’t want to deal with 50 saffron-clad influentially-backed passionate pawns shouting on the top of their voices against a stupid Snapchat. Also, why are these goons on Snapchat? What are their snap stories like? A picture of a beaten up honest journalist with the caption ‘About Last Night’ or a picture of a cow that reads ‘Mumma’s boy’? It’s ridiculous.

I am scared. Worried that every time something like this happens, I start contemplating on even coming back. My intention was to learn comedy in New York and return to contribute to my home scene, but events like these just make me contemplate. I can’t deal with any more FIRs or wasting my hard earned money on sweet devils called lawyers. I think there’s a larger problem that no one is foreseeing. Soon, these goons will not listen to even their leaders because power corrupts people. Once they realise that they’re a strong force that can lynch about change and execute tyranny, they’ll disband and we’ll be at the brink of a civil war just confused about whom or why are we fighting.

I am scared. But, I am also hopeful. It’s because every social conflict has only birthed more art. The crusades, wars and revolutions, all have resulted in artistic renaissances. It’s the fight to curb freedom of expression that will compel us to create and display in different forms that we never expected could’ve been explored. And that’s where we’ll win. Their illogical but passionate resistance will fuel our imagination and give us fodder to vent art in every form. Not just comedy, but poetry, craft and every other form of expression will just accentuate to a point of spiritual depth because the end goal will be to make an impact and manifest the victory of creativity and integrity.

I am scared, these FIR filing close-minded bandits have no clue the magnitude of the creative revolution they are birthing by resisting ideas that are waiting to be born.

I am scared, for them. Jai Hind.



Rust in peace


It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these. 48 days roughly. Actually, not roughly, I’m certain it’s 48. I just like saying ‘roughly’ so you don’t think I’m a wasted human who keeps track of trivial dates that matter to nobody. We all do that right? Just use vague terms like ‘approximately’ or ‘give or take’ to avoid describing the exact occurrence of events so we seem like we have too much to remember. It’s simple, busy is more valued.

Isn’t that why we purposely go late to a party? To look like we are doing a favour on everyone by squeezing time out from our apparently close-cutting schedules? While in reality all we do is waste time and push things for the end, so we can do everything that could’ve easily been done earlier, at the last minute. All this just to make ourselves believe that we had a lot to do and feel less bad about the busy pretense. That said. I’ve been busy. No seriously, I have. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself so I can sleep at night and escape the guilt of not being on stage enough and writing religiously. I’m rusty, can’t you tell?

The past few weeks have been a mix bag of emotions. I had an intense ending to a fun internship followed by a family vacation to the Bahamas, which I keep mentioning to literally everyone because it sounds super fancy. In a perfect world, all that is well, perfect. But I think the curse of comedy or any art is that every time you are doing something that’s not adding to your craft, you experience this unexplainable feeling of disservice and emptiness. You get pulled into this whirlwind of polarising emotions, where you want to live in the moment and take the back seat, but the incapability to create doesn’t let you just be. All you then do is wait for time to fast forward so you can start working again. Then soon that happens and you’d like to believe that the misery is over. But no, the fuckery is just about to begin because when you get back to the drawing board you live with the guilt of not having taken time off whole-heartedly, so you start creating without interest. Which is even more frustrating. It’s a bloody black hole of helplessness that reflects when you’re back on stage again. You falter, fail and forget what smooth felt like. At this point, there’s only one thing that can help you sail, i.e., being a stubborn son of bitch and making peace with the rusting. I almost feel like this is turning out to be a low res Rocky Balboa speech, but damn that guy was right.

I’m back though. Not with a bang or any other super shady phrase that is used for finding your rhythm again, but more in a ‘oh maybe you’ll get through it stop fretting’ kind of a way. Good news is that I got selected for the NYC Summer Comedy Fest. That’s exciting. Especially because Indian comedy producers didn’t think I was ‘yet there’ to be a part of their festivals. They weren’t entirely wrong though. Side note: Great job on not naming them or the festivals openly in a blog Deep, you eventually have to go back home, and we all know diplomacy is the key to a great career in comedy, not jokes or anything.

Yeah so that happened, I also have a new 6-minute story that’s shaping out to be not entirely terrible. I just need to fix the end and write a few more tags that should make it strong enough for now. I don’t have much time left here though. 6 months ‘roughly’. The goal is to have an hour of material by then. It’s daunting. Friends have told me that I should start a vlog for this blog and document my mics everyday. Not a bad idea, but I’m terrible at speaking into the camera when it’s on the selfie mode. Let me know what you think?

I think I’ve written enough for now. (I always include these lines, that seem conversational and make it look like I wrote all of this in one flow without constantly re-evaluating what I’m saying. Fun comes.) Yeah, so here’s the moral of this graph-less story. Be back, always. Rusting feels bad and you’ll always feel tempted to extend this ‘break’ you’re taking a bit more. I’ve seen so many open micers from the Indian scene in 2012 just turn their sabbaticals into resignations. Don’t do that in whatever you do. Be back, always. Because you might regret things you didn’t do, but you’ll definitely regret things that you liked doing but left. So yeah, Rust in peace friends. Until next time.


I Might Be Going Mad

Before you read this one, I think it’s best to put it out there that everything I’m going to write from hereon is an unfiltered rant on thoughts that I cannot seem to logically segregate and socially comprehend. It’s mad man’s talk. You know how when you’re passing a worn down street and a homeless person aimlessly shouts, “Elvis is still alive you nitwits” or something even more scorn-worthy. This is one of those. So, ladies and gentlemen, are you ready for a worded vomit of life sequences and paradoxes vented out on the internet due to the liberty of free office wi-fi? Yeah? Yeah! Let’s go.

Firstly, the Broadway Comedy Club show went super smooth. The crowd erupted, I got a nice tape out of it, the producers gave me a spot on an upcoming pro-show and I also made it to the waiting-list of the Manhattan Comedy Festival. Woot Woot! Not so much. I played 140 people that day. My biggest crowd in 5 months. Fun and all that yes, but as I got off stage, I experienced the weirdest feeling ever. I felt hollow. Ecstatic but empty. It was unexplainable. I was amongst friends and other people who appreciated my set and reassured me that all was great. Still. Something was amiss. And an hour later it dawned upon me. I missed silence. Numerous mics filled with no humans and sacred solitude made me befriend the nothingness. It’s like Tarzan or one of those jungle movies. You’re bred in the damp forests and darkness for years and you think that the city is going to be great with tall buildings and unbridled excitement. Then you get to the big apple and it’s filled with garbage and malice too corrupted for you to digest. Your happy ending then is returning to the woods and hooking up with Jane under aloe trees. Have you ever had all that translated into a moment or a feeling? It’s okay. I know it’s just me.

I think I’m going mad. It has to be the start of me becoming a lunatic under the educated pretext of art and cynicism. You can call it a critic or whatever classy words begin with C. The core of it is pure insanity. Also, I absolutely detest one thing that people always say in such situations. It’s a phrase that defines whether they will ever amount to anything in life or join that homeless man in believing that Elvis is still alive. It goes something like ‘Grass is always greener on the other side BRO’. To which my usual reply in the words of the great Bill Hicks is ‘FUCK YOU’. This has nothing to do with two equally enticing sides. It’s between identity-crisis and the pinnacle of appreciation. Between having nothing at all or everything at once. And how can you crave nothing? It’s an one-sided affair you foresight-handicapped organism.

I warned you at the start about this entire thing being too dark and vain.

Initially, I thought this was just a phase and would pass. Isn’t that a sweet lie we tell ourselves till we realize the phase becomes a part of our forever? “Woah woah Deep, you really don’t want me to make a pun on your first name after you said THAT huh?”

Okay my bad. I do believe in phases passing, however I also am of the opinion that each one leaves a morsel of it behind that adds on to your ongoing existence and overall molding as a person. Here’s when I realized this is who I might be becoming. On Monday night, I performed with the SnG Comedy boys at a sold out show which they put up since they happened to be in New York. I did a fairly short set. About 10-12 minutes. But, it was one of those where everything you utter lands as a punchline and even four bits seem to last an eternity because of the applause. I am obviously over-exaggerating. I get off stage and then Varun Thakur, one of my early-favorites from the Indian scene goes on to destroy for 40 minutes. I get the compliments and the appreciation begins. But with every nice word that was spoken by those super kind audience members, I felt like I did disservice to silence. I felt like a traitor. Now, tell me if this isn’t a sign of psychosis then what is?

From here it’s all a wait game. I have two options. The first is to breathe, take a step back, analyze the importance of silence and make sure I come to an agreement on visiting it regularly, so as in not to feel crazy when the applauses come in. Just absorb the fact in its entirety that this might be a normal stage in the process of trying to become a comic who wants to be good first and not famous. The second way out is a tough road. I’ll have to believe Elvis is still kicking and alive. That’s genuinely downright ridiculous. Hmm, wait what if he actually is…?

Countdown to B-Day

I haven’t been very regular with these blogs. Bouts of low responses, mixed with lack of motivation and the general drop in the number of mics I’ve been hitting, have contributed to my unfelt absence. Also, a very dear friend gave me some interesting feedback on my previous post that went like, “Yeh kya natak laga ke rakha hain blog vog ka?” So, I spent a day in contemplation of its continuation. But, here I am. Still venting out my inner insecurity under the pretext of crude comedy escapades. If I would’ve followed everything my friends ever told me, I would’ve never become a comic.

It’s been over 4 months since I moved to New York. Woah. You know sometimes you mention the amount of time and then realize that it’s passed way to quickly to be true? That just happened. Yeah, so coming back. That’s roughly 150 days and I honestly have only 15 minutes of material till now. I need to walk down a marketplace bare naked with someone shouting SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! And that still won’t do justice to how slow I am going .

However, in the last one week I’ve put on horse blinkers to block thoughts of personal incompetency, so I can spend time on honing my strongest 5 minutes and making them super solid. The reason being that I get carried away with all the new bits I write and hit mics to try their worth, instead of perfecting bits that are seeming to do well. Also, this Saturday I’m up at the Broadway Comedy Club for their Industry Show.

An industry show, from what I’ve heard is a better open mic where people actually turn up and listen to what you have to say. The club owner and programmers personally sit to evaluate and give you feedback and if you manage to win the mic, you earn a residency at the Broadway Club for a month. That’s around 5-6 bookings. Which according to New York standards is SEX ON THE BEACH. Each performer gets 5 minutes and needs to bring at least 7 people with them to add to the crowd. Each audience ticket is 20 dollars with a compulsory two drink minimum inside. That totals up to approximately 40 dollars (2500 rupees). So, a big challenge that I overcame way easily than I expected was to convince 7 friends to agree to come. God bless them good people. I lured them into this by calling it an investment and promised that if I ever become a famous comic who’ll sell out auditorium shows. They’ll get first row VIP tickets free for as long as they want. I’m certain they’ve already put this under bad debts.

So, I hit three open mics on the weekend. First at The PIT Loft (which is becoming one of my favorite rooms), second at Niagara (where I was the 32nd comic to perform) and the third at Lovecraft (a micshop in East Village which is run by a producer called Ashlee who is sweet enough to give you candies at the end of the show ). I intern during the week at an ad agency and have classes twice a week, so squeezing out time becomes slightly tough. That said, I have to hit as many late night mics I can this week to keep practicing my stuff.

Comedy if you look at it objectively is brutal at every stage. This time my challenge is to make the most of the 5 minutes I’m getting, to win a mic that really matters. Soon, it’ll be to hold an audience for 60-90 minutes, making sure they’re constantly stimulated to keep agreeing with my twisted life perspectives. I’ll never be able to tell which one of the two is easier. I guess neither. In order to keep myself motivated and make the art as innate as I can, I have started reading ‘American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story’. It’s truly amazing to learn what a genius Hicks was and how superhuman his approach not only to comedy but life was. I strongly recommend it.

That’s where I am. Stuck in between a time consuming internship, inconsistent mics and an important show up this weekend. I don’t how it’ll go but the countdown to B-Day very excruciatingly reminds me of every time that I missed a mic and chose to prioritize something else. Funny how we become our own parents. I’ll keep you’ll posted on how this one goes and if any good comes off it. In all honesty, I’m more excited to play a full house than the thought of winning. I hope I don’t skip a heartbeat seeing 200 people in a crowd after what seems another lifetime.


DC in DC

Every time I hit a comedy club in New York, there’s one thing all the fellow comics always tell me and i.e., the NY Stand Up scene is nothing like the rest of the United States. At first, I wasn’t completely sure what that meant, but a bus ride to Washington DC brought everything into perspective.

In NY if you want to perform at a mic, you simply show up before the show starts and put your name in a bucket. The host goes up, picks the chits, announces the order and you perform to beautiful empty walls in rustic basements. It’s marvellous. Trust me it is, the silence I’ve received at clubs has saved me hours on meditation and brought me closer to self-actualisation.

So, my ignorance made me think that it would just be natural for Washington to have the same comedy codes. Turns out, I’m a douche with incorrect pre-conceived notions and zero foresight. Something my parents would term as ‘not surprising at all’.

This is what happens: I reach the city, look up mics online and land at this place called the Bier Baron. My first reaction is of disbelief because I see a packed room of 60-70 people waiting for the open mic to start. In my head, I’ve already performed, destroyed and become the new famous DC in town. So, I go up to the producer who very sweetly tells me that it’s a pre-registered show, and last minute walk-ins are not entertained, so I can give my expectations a glorious death. Humility, Season 1 Episode 1: Every place is not The Hive. Since I’m there, I just watch the show and the conditioning differences between DC and NY comics are starkly evident. These nights are a display of how empty rooms teach you to work full rooms with grace.

I go back home and try to register for any show I can get in that week, but luck isn’t a dear friend, although optimism is. So, the next day I reach a place called The Big Hunt and make my way to its basement. Climbing down I remember thinking to myself that nobody is going to land up at an underground club on a weekday. Hmm…remember that short-sighted douche part? Still true. The venue is packed beyond capacity with almost no space to breathe. I somehow make my way to the comics’ table and try to speak to the producer. He’s sweeter and tells me he doesn’t have time to talk. That brings us to Humility, Season 1 Episode 2: Go out the door you just came from.

Disappointed I head back and on my way, I get a mail about a 3 minute slot available at a mic the next day. I’m thrilled. Fast forward 24 hours. I whip out my tripod, practise my bit and reach this venue called the Chinese Disco. I confirm my spot and go to the back to stretch and do some air boxing (it’s super lame but fun). My turn is getting closer, tension is building and right before I’m programmed to go up on stage, the host announces that the producer has decided to end the show because a party is scheduled to start there in five minutes. Humility Season 1 Finale: Shove that tripod up your alley.

So, yes I’m back in New York from a pseudo tour where I didn’t get to go on stage. I guess the art teaches you what you need and not what you want, even if that is something as basic as appreciating stage time. However, I’ve learnt my lesson and have already mailed producers for shows six months in advance. Until then I’m going to be in rustic basements happy to be reunited with my good old friend, silence.