Stand-up comedy is not easy. One has to sound funny at all times yet be level-headed. Zakir Khan, a 25-year-old Indore boy, had never imagined that his comic timing would lead him to win Comedy Central India’s Best Stand-up Comedian Award.
Apart from having shared the stage with other stand-up comedians like Vir Das and Papa CJ, Zakir has done a number of shows all over India. Recently he also co-hosted The 5th Annual Golden Kela Awards. A staunch supporter of open-mic comedy, this Indore lad prefers to write his own script. In this interview Zakir talks about his ride to stardom and the current state of comedy in this country. Excerpts:
How did you start your journey as a stand-up comedian?
I’ve been performing since my school days but it was only when I came to this city that I realised what stand-up comedy was all about. During my first show, I was asked to step down within two minutes of my performance; they probably thought I wasn’t that good. Then I went on to participate in “India’s Best Stand-up Comedian” in March 2012 by Comedy Central. Initially I thought it would be great if my name came within the top five finalists, but eventually I went on to win the contest. That is how I started my journey into proper stand-up comedy.
You have done a lot of open-mic mike comedy? Why do you think it is important?
A comedian should perform on an open mic, which is how I’ve started my journey. It is a show where there are no particular line-ups and everybody is welcome to showcase their talent. All you need to do is register your contact details and pay a nominal entry free. And you get a lot of feedback that enables you to sharpen your talent and shine.
For me humour has to be very basic. During my shows, I prefer saying what people only think. Maybe that is the reason why people connect with me so easily. Also, my humour is very fundamental and rustic.
Considering there is a thin line between humour and vulgarity, how do you manage it?
For me it is about the experiences one has in life and not vulgarity. Also we live in such a hypocritical society that when it comes to talking about one’s experience on public forums, people go on a back foot. And stand-up comedy is one such tool to break that myth.
The state of Situation of stand-up comedy in India…
It is a growing sector nowadays and has numerous possibilities to explore. Also, if a person is able to carve a niche for oneself right now, one is sure to become a veteran in the future. Adding to that, stand-up comedy is probably the only community in the creative field where people welcome you instead of seeing you as competition.