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.