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Those funny feelings

Comedy means honesty, says Kanan Gill

Comedy means honesty, says Kanan Gill  

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Kanan Gill says stand up comedy is basically about saving it

“It is funny how stand-up comedy has suddenly become the in thing now. It doesn’t even make sense.” Full marks to Kanan Gill for the most intriguing conversation starter ever, particularly when the ensuing conversation is on stand-up comedy, and his current tour, “Feelings with Kanan.”

Why the name? “I’ve always found the word ‘feelings’ funny. My friend and I always joke about this. Like ‘let’s talk about our feelings’. I find it hilarious”, he cracks up. “Really, I think the name of the show is pretty irrelevant. I could just name it anything and it would still be the same show, its essence wouldn’t change”.

Well, one can’t negate the fact that the show’s trademark hilarity would indeed remain intact, even in the dire hypothetical circumstance of it being named after bodily processes.

The 25-year-old comedian has amassed an incredible fan following all over India, with it its “share of pressures”. What of the flat jokes? Kanan offers – “Stand-up comedy is basically learning how to save it. No one can go up there and constantly kill it! And the most important thing in comedy, for me, is honesty. When you are yourself up there, everything just comes. Sometimes a funny thing is really just a true thing. We all have that one friend who’s quite the storyteller, and narrates all incidents with full enthusiasm and sound effects. Well, this is just that. You’re telling a story, you’re narrating”. So he’s always been that one friend?

“Not really, no”, he grins. “Around my few close friends, I’m not obliged to always be entertaining, and I don’t feel the need to”.

Considering the radically different atmospheres, does he prefer performing in bars to auditoriums? “Well they both host very different environments,” he says. “But bars lend a sense of camaraderie that can’t quite be replicated anywhere else. It has its share of challenges too, though”. Like what? He chuckles. “Like instances where the sound system suddenly conks, or the lights suddenly fall off, and of course, interruptions”. And how are these interruptions handled? “If someone interrupts me when I’m in the middle of a set, it’s not really ideal, but if I can’t ignore it, then I’ll spend time talking about it. You’ve got to think on your feet, and go with it.”

A stand-up comedian is a dynamic creature. But what of the dissonance between the person on stage and off it? Kanan quips, “Stand-up comedy is personal. All the personal things about you are right up there on stage. I believe all comedy comes from some massive void that people try to fill with laughter. No comedian has his life fully sorted! There are always things on his mind.”

And with that, he’s off to prepare for his show. Well, to rephrase Charlie Chaplin in the 21st Century Bengaluru, a night without laughter is a night wasted. Et tu, Kanan?

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 10:57:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/those-funny-feelings/article7625164.ece

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