When the doctor acts funny

An ENT specialist, Dr Jagdish Chaturvedi took to stand-up comedy because he believes we must laugh at ourselves and our mistakes. He's now doing a charity show themed on failure and depression

May 31, 2017 06:50 pm | Updated 06:50 pm IST

Man of many talents  Jagdish Chaturvedi

Man of many talents Jagdish Chaturvedi

Bengaluru's traffic, its jams and road rage are the butt of many jokes. Dr Jagdish Chaturvedi hasn't spared them either, during his stand-up comedy shows. The ENT surgeon and theatre actor, who has his own YouTube channel - Magaa of Small Things - believes that humour lies in all the little things around us. And that laughter is, really, the best medicine.

On June 3, he will be doing a charity stand-up comedy show that will focus on failure and depression. "With this show, I hope to change the perspective towards failures and mistakes, as the first step towards curbing depression. Failures are often the triggers for depression and low-self-esteem," he says. His father, and his wife, are both psychiatrists. "I have often spoken about the benefits of failing. I have faced many failures while inventing medical devices. But I've been laughing at my mistakes. And that changes your perspective - when you are able to look at your mistakes uncritically." He's even authored a book The Benefits of Failing Successfully. Dr. Prabha Chandra, head of Psychiatry at NIMHANS encouraged him to host this show.

Jagdish has a life packed with a variety of interests — he's a passionate believer in the need for low-cost medical devices. He's a Stanford-India Biodesign (SIB) Fellow. He has invented or co-invented almost 18 devices, of which six are already in the market. He was one of the 35 innovators under the age of 35 recognised by MIT Technology Review in 2016. He credits this inventing streak to his mentor, Dr Ravi Nayar, at his alma mater - St. John's Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru.

Having lived in Bengaluru most of his life, he has also spent time in Mumbai, Delhi and the USA as well — something that shows up as an influence in his characters in his shows. "I have a knack of getting myself into messy situations. But I try to take a humourous look at it, rather than get upset. I observe people and situations, and believe that my show is based on observational comedy. Being an actor, I get into characters a lot," he explains, talkign about where the grist for his stand-up shows come from. "I also believe that if certain things happened to me, they would have happened to others also and they will be able to identify with it," he says. News and social issues also get woven into shows.

He keeps "doctor jokes" to a minimum and uses them only when he performs at medical conferences, he says. He wryly observes that most doctors have a good sense of humour, probably because of the great stress they are in. "When we doctors get together, it's always humourous talk."

The charity show to aid depression care, titled F For Failure, is on June 3 at the NIMHANS Convention Centre, Hall B, at 6 p.m. Tickets, priced at Rs. 400 (which includes a copy of his book) are available on BookMyShow and EventsHigh.

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