Standup comedy Theatre

Hriday Ranjan: Not quite politically correct

Hriday Ranjan  

Standup comedian Hriday Ranjan’s life has two contrasting phases — one where he was raised in a gurukul for a decade and another where he alternated from being an athiest to an agnostic, unaffected by spiritual debates. His childhood keeps planting contradictory thoughts in his mind, resulting in comical situations.

This Friday, his show 10 Years in an Ashram, would deal with these contradictions and he clarifies that the joke is on himself rather than any religion or spiritual belief.

Says Ranjan as if in explanation of what led to his career in standup comedy, “I was raised in Puttaparti in a gurukul, my parents were followers of a spiritual guru and my life was more or less destined to be that way.” He found during his stay that there was an element of spirituality in every aspect of life, an environment where education and co-curricular activities were considered secondary. “Even when I’m being funny, nobody tells you humour is a skill you could make a career out of. Studying journalism made me question my beliefs. I found this belief system interesting in a technology-driven world where nearly everything can be proved scientifically.”

Nothing really affects him now, though he can’t shake off his roots. He shares, “I try to keep the entire thing conversational, many comedians adopt a holier-than-thou attitude when they talk. I believe I don’t know if I’m still right, because my beliefs keep changing. Even if one is a temple priest, they can attend my show. I am making fun of myself and not God here, so there’s nothing offensive about this. ‘What’s the point of being so rigid’ is its theme.”

Being culturally sensitive in standup is a phase that shall pass, Hriday feels citing examples of comedians in UK and US whose standup comedy became an art form. “There were many comics like George Carlin who were in the growth phase and were jailed for silly things.” He says it doesn’t help our country that we treat a joke as an insult.

So how does he replenish his creative (read comical) energies from time to time? “It’s a myth that you have to produce humour everyday. Many open mic and standups are rehearsed too. As a novelist, you write everyday but not all goes into a book. You keep writing humour to help your brain become a well-oiled machine. Slowly, you make yourself tighter, refine your older content and simultaneously write new ones.”

(10 Years in an Ashram is on at Heart Cup Coffee,Hyderabad 8 pm on March 23)


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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 9:46:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/hriday-ranjan-not-quite-being-politically-correct/article23320117.ece

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