Bangalore-based stand up comedian Praveen Kumar has done about 1400 shows across the globe. Now, he is up with Mr Family Man, which is very special and close to his heart.
Praveen Kumar always wanted to do something related to comedy. After passing out from college, he started doing comedy on stage and he used to do comedy mimes from his BITS Pilani days. His clean humour makes him favorite among the corporate and family audience.
The stand up comedian has done 4 specials so far and now started touring with the fifth one. He has been rated as one of the top 10 stand-up comedians in India by Times of India and he is one of top 10 comics in India to look out for by IBN live. He has also been nominated for Forbes top 100 celebrities in India.
In an interview with International Business Times India, Praveen Kumar spoke about his journey as a stand-up comedian from 2009. Here are the excerpts from his interview with IBTimes, India.
1. Tell us about this special. How did this come up? What inspired you to write it?
Mr. Family Man is a close to heart special for me as all are personal stories from my life. After the release of my earlier special 36 Vayathiniley where I spoke about a lot of topics like movies, crickets, politics, birthdays, photography, biriyani etc, I wanted to do a completely different kind of a show where I don't about any other individual other than my friends and family in the form of stories. Hence came Mr. Family Man.
2. It's very early days. But how has been the response so far?
Unexpectedly good. I didnt expect that I had to reply to about 200-300 messages (99.5% positive) a day on an average. The best thing is that the audience have accepted me a family friendly comedian and watch the show with their entire family. That is a huge honour for me.
3 What got you into comedy? How did you discover your passion for comedy?
I used to do comedy mimes in college, you know.. that Adzap types..that gave me an idea of the awesome feeling of making someone random laugh. That got stuck to me.
4 We all face some hurdles. What were the hurdles in the journey of becoming a stand-up comedian before you became a professional?
Ans. The major hurdle I faced when I started off doing stand up in English was my thick Tamil accent in English.. Got lot of negative remarks and people teased me for my accent. But eventually that accent became my trademark after I became a professional.
5 In the last couple of years, we have noticed a boom of stand-up comedy in India. Why do you think that has happened?
Ans. I think audience are getting evolved and they are looking for a new form of entertainment apart from movies etc.. So when someone talks about things they like or relate to, they would tend to spend one evening to experience that. Even if some of the shows' ticket prices are costlier than that of a movie's, audience still won't mind paying it because of the "Live" experience they are getting.
6 Do you think that society's perspective of the profession has changed over the years?
Yes, earlier when I started doing stand up way back in 2009, nobody knew what that is, and when I quit my day job in 2014 it was still considered sin to quit your consistently paying job to take over something which is exactly the opposite. But now in India there are tons of comedians who are doing it full time which shows people have started accepting this as a mainstream profession.
7 Who is your favorite stand-up comedian of all time?
Since I started long back, I worked with almost all major comedians of India and I like everybody because everybody is unique and they are working really hard to make a mark here. Having said that my favourite comedian is Goundamani and favourite writer is Crazy Mohan. I have a huge influence of them sub consciously when I write a joke.
8 If not a comedian, what would you have been?
I would have continued doing my Marketing job watching all these comedians and feeling jealous.
9 How much of a Family Man are you?
Since I stay most of the time at home (weekdays) I take care of lot of household work by maintaining and managing the house. So i think I am a pretty decent Family Man. But not sure what my wife would say though.
10 What would be your advice to people who want to become comedians?
Dont expect anything (money or fame) in the first 3-4 years of comedy.. Just wait and keep working on your craft and someone the magic will happen.