Praveen Kumar

Praveen Kumar – Making people laugh is no joking matter for this stand-up comedian

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Rated as one of India’s top stand-up comedians, Praveen Kumar is as funny as they come. Joking about his nomination by several top media outlets (TOI, Forbes, IBNLive.com) as one of India’s best comedic talent, he says, “I didn’t do anything. I just did my part and did not know the criteria they had.”

“It started out just for fun. Slowly, one thing led to another and since the past two and half years I’ve been doing it full time.”

Find out where your passion lies. But you need to earn, so do your job and pursue your passion alongside till you make 3/4th of what you earn from your regular job, and then you are ready to quit.”

Having had a fondness for humour he became part of something called Comedy Mime in college. He realised that he enjoyed making people laugh, and decided to do something in comedy. But it wasn’t until 2009 that he got into the stand-up comedy space. “It started out just for fun. Slowly, one thing led to another and since the past two and half years I’ve been doing it full time.”

Praveen prefers to keep his jokes clean and simple, which makes him a big hit with corporates. His popularity amongst them is immense, leading to him having done 400 shows till date! As a true humorist, Praveen doesn’t even spare himself, so, with a straight-face he says, “After college my friends went to different directions and I felt a void, so I wanted to do something related to comedy and hence I got married.”

When it comes to a paid audience, they pay money to watch you and the expectations are high, there is no scope for not doing well, you have to do well.”

praveen kumarHis success as a comedian is not attributed to talent alone. Praveen works hard to ensure he delivers an entertaining show. There is a process. To test out his jokes, he takes part in at least 2-3 Open Mikes (an open platform for anyone to try out their material and get feedback). Based on the audience’s response he modifies his script. Talking about it, he says, “Because these Open Mike events are free, audience expectations tend to be low.  When it comes to a paid audience, they pay money to watch you and the expectations are high, there is no scope for not doing well, you have to do well.” Following the adage, ‘Practice makes perfect’, Praveen rehearses his script at least 3-4 times with a general audience before performing in front of a paying one.

A particular experience that changed Praveen’s perception and contributed to who he is today, occurred during his early years as a stand-up comedian. In 2010 he got the chance to perform a five minute gig at a newly opened comedy club in Mumbai. It was part of a UK based chain and was the first one in India. Despite his success with the audience, the British owner unable to grasp Praveen’s South Indian accent chose not to promote him. This incident made him question his career as a comedian. But a fellow comedian Ashwin Matthew told him to be his original self and not care about just one person who didn’t understand him, and instead focus on the others who did. “These comforting words were a huge boost for me.”

A comedian should not only be funny which is by default but must be hardworking, dedicated, and always at it. If you’re doing comedy for some other reasons, then comedy won’t stay in you for a long time.”

What makes a good comedian? He says, “A comedian should not only be funny which is by default but must be hardworking, dedicated, and always at it. If you’re doing comedy for some other reasons, then comedy won’t stay in you for a long time.” He also believes that a comedian shouldn’t be content with one set of jokes. They should constantly experiment with new material.

Content with his slow but steady progress, Praveen doesn’t have any big plans at the moment. For the next 3-4 months he will be touring Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai for his new show ‘Orthodoxically Me’. He intends to launch his next show in April-May 2017.

His advice to others wanting to do something of their own:  “Find out where your passion lies. But you need to earn, so do your job and pursue your passion alongside till you make 3/4th of what you earn from your regular job, and then you are ready to quit.”

Slow and steady wins the race. And that’s what Praveen Kumar has proved. He kept at his passion, despite the odds, gradually working his way up, to be one of the best, to be Bold.

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