Theatre

Alex in wonderland

Plenty of laughs Alexander Babu at his show in Coimbatore  

Interviews, salary increments, HR department and finance companies, Ilaiyaraja’s chorus group, Kamal Hassan’s intensity, Mani Ratnam’s and Gautham Menon’s cinematography, AR Rahman’s use of technology, Kiran Bedi’s interpretation of jallikattu... all this and more were used by stand-up comedian Alexander Babu in his show Alex in Wonderland, held at SITRA Auditorium recently. There were also jokes, songs and messages on the perils of smoking and drinking, safe driving and the importance of being fit.

Babu, a former software engineer, wears multiple hats: yoga teacher, musician, theatre person, motivational speaker and stand-up comedian. Alex in Wonderland is his first solo show, the aim of which is to show the audience that life is indeed a wonderland.

“It used to take me more than three weeks to write a 10-minute script,” said Babu in an interaction after the show, “but now I find that I can write it within a week. I am able to relate to the jokes that have been baking in me since I was young.”

The show strings together stories drawn from his corporate and his musical life with a series of entertaining jokes. “When I speak about social issues, I make sure I do not appear to be preaching or lecturing. Talking about jallikattu, not smoking or drinking and road safety takes extra effort.” Babu is also very interested in acting. He has been part of theatre groups and “will definitely act if I get a chance and a good role.”

Asked what is the worst thing that can happen to a stand-up comedian, he replies that it is jokes falling flat. How does he react when that happens? “I just skip to the next one because it will not happen to all jokes. It’s just a part of the game”.

His long term goal, he says, is to be happy. “If happiness prevails, everything else is going to be fine. As humans, all of us tend to fail at some point. But we should learn to accept our failures.”

Many of his jokes take a dig at religion. “I am a Christian so when I mock a few practices in church, some say that I have betrayed Christianity. I joke only about its failures. But people take it very seriously. Similarly when I joke about Lord Ganesha, people ask how a Christian can make jokes about a Hindu god. All religions teach us to love but, instead of spreading love, we stick to religion. The whole world is one and all of us are friends but everyone doesn’t think so. I believe that art can change that. So I am using art to liberate us from all these ties.”

He also has strong opinions about yoga having been a long-time practitioner and teacher. “I think everyone should practice yoga. It is just a tool to keep our body fit and must not be labelled as belonging to a particular religion.” As an artist he feels, “Art should be consumed by everyone so that all of us can loosen up a little and have fun. The purpose of my journey is to loosen people’s minds.”

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Printable version | Oct 15, 2020 8:23:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/stand-up-comic-alexander-babu-on-jokes-and-more/article19714929.ece

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