Getting serious about comedy with Nishant Suri

Nishant Suri was practically unknown before he turned up on the first season of Amazon Prime’s reality show, Comicstaan (2018). As a struggling stand-up comic for three years before that, he had made a conscious decision to not upload his work on YouTube — he considered it a saturated market. Since winning the show, however, his videos have garnered millions of views each. “It made me a very recognisable brand, opening doors to private/corporate events, which is how we earn our bread and butter. On YouTube, they might see a clip of five to seven minutes, but on the show, they create an attachment since they know you more as a person,” he says.

In Chennai this weekend with an hour-long solo special titled Why So SURIous, the Noida native is no stranger to the city. He has performed here twice before. “We also lived in Avadi for three years when I was really young, but I don’t remember much,” he laughs.

Although his initial material was about his experiences as an engineer and later, a wedding photographer, he is going further with this set. “Now, I’m trying to write about things I’m thinking about or what’s happening with me right now. I hope people here can still relate to what I’m talking about,” he says.

Thinking of laughter

Admitting he is a “lazy writer”, who took a year to put together the material for this show, he says, “Creating the joke is the most challenging part… And I don’t tell stories – so this becomes even more difficult. Once you’ve written the joke and tested it out, it becomes easier.” He adds that he tends to compare himself to others in his field, and that it is not a good space to be in. “I quit my job because I wanted to do what I liked. Once you begin comparing, you’re constantly at war with yourself,” he says.

One of Suri’s aims is to move away from region-based comedy. If he is to cater to an international audience, it requires simple content that transcends borders. And within the country’s current political atmosphere, he does not miss an opportunity to share his opinions, albeit in a safe way. “I do slip in a subtle joke, on the sidelines of something else... It makes it more palatable to people who may not agree with me.”

Today’s show marks the end of his 11-city solo tour that has taken him across North and Central India. And one thing is for sure: he needs a break. “You need a life apart from stand-up that you can derive your material from. Otherwise, you don’t grow as a person and your comedy becomes stagnant,” he says. What’s on the cards for his big hiatus? “I’d love to travel outside of India, but something tells me the Coronavirus is going to make that pretty difficult. I’ll probably just head off to the mountains, do a little trekking instead,” he concludes.

Catch Why So SURIous on March 7 at SOCO at Bamboo Bar, Hotel Savera. From 5.30 pm. Tickets at ₹499 on

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2020 8:49:42 AM |

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