TELEVISION Funny man Rasik Chopra gets candid about his life, career and dreams
Rasik Chopra started out as an investment banker in the United States before switching both countries and careers.
He is today a very popular stand-up comedian based out of India and now focuses on producing, writing, directing and performing on stage and screen.
An intrepid traveller, he is all set to make his TV debut with the 3rd season of 10 Things To do Around The World in which he travels to a number of popular holiday destinations in the world and lists out 10 great experiences in each place. We caught up with Rasik in an e-mail interview. Excerpts:
Why did you start off with investment banking?
I became an investment banker because God refused to make me a genius who could prolifically write satirical literature like Kurt Vonnegut. I figured, if I couldn’t be brilliant, I’d may as well be rich.
What brand of humour appeals to you the most?
I don’t care for branded humour. It’s overrated. Something’s funny or it isn’t.
Who are the other contemporary stand-up comedians you like and why?
In my opinion, Woody Allen is perhaps the finest English language humourist in the world, though sadly he doesn’t perform stand-up comedy any more.
Jerry Seinfeld is brilliant for his ability to find a grain of humour within a million grains of the mundane. In India, I’m most fond of Sanjay Rajoura who performs mostly in Hindi and tells the ugly truth in a most charming way.
Tell me about Family Jewels (a stand-up show in which he relates amusing and embarrassing stories from his own life)
It was an exercise in exposing what was most private about my life. Turns out people love a peep show.
How and when did you decide to enter the television industry?
The television industry asked me to enter it and I just walked through the door.
Tell us about your experience of hosting the show.
I miss having a live audience that gives immediate feedback. But my producers at NDTV Good Times have let me have fun while teaching me the language of television. It’s a surreal experience: it’s conceivable that in a single day I’ll jump off a 200-foot bridge, dress in drag, pet a wild animal in the jungle and go surfing.
You laugh at yourself a lot, don’t you?
I laugh at myself to limit the chances that someone else will laugh at me.
Just wondering, is the play Good Friends Never Tell based on anyone you know in real life?
The characters in Good friends were drawn from real life people: insecure and terrified souls who betray their ideals for temporary security.
Who are the people you admire and draw inspiration from?
Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, Robin Williams, my parents and my fiancé.
What else in your life other than theatre and stand-up comedy?
Film: I’m shooting a documentary. Literature: I recently published a short story. Friends and Family: they keep me grounded. And the woman I love... she makes it all worthwhile.
What sort of movies, books, TV shows do you like?
I like anything that reminds me how beautiful life is, anything that’s a little naughty...Henry Miller and Kurt Vonnegut, Modern Family, anything by Woody Allen.
The show will be aired every Monday at 10 p.m. on NDTV Good Times.