Important to have honest expression in stand-up comedy: Amit Tandon

Shubha Dubey

New Delhi, Mar 18 (PTI) A stand-up artiste cannot survive by telling stories that don't come from an honest place, says renowned comedian Amit Tandon.

An MBA and engineer by qualification, Tandon has established himself as one of the most popular names in the Indian stand-up comedy scene with his relatable style.

'The stories we tell are personal. If I try to tell stories that I feel will work in the market but don't belong to me, I will never connect with people. It's better to stay honest in my expression rather than try too hard to present something which I'm not,' Tandon told PTI in an interview.

'The more honest you are, the better you connect with the audiences. I say the same thing to the stand-up aspirants that 'don't try to be like somebody else',' he added.

With 'Tandon: Family Tandoncies', Tandon became the third Indian stand-up artiste to have a Netflix special after Aditi Mittal and Vir Das.

He said it took him seven to eight months to come up with the hour-long act.

'There's a lot of pressure. It was the first time I was doing a one-hour special. The challenge was to write a story which leads to a proper ending. Usually, when we perform live, there is a set or two but for the special I had to switch from one set to another,' he said.

His family is the focus of a lot of jokes that Tandon offers in the special but the artiste said people at home are used to being at the receiving end of his humour.

'Now my family doesn't mind when I put them at the centre of my jokes. I don't tell my wife if I have a joke on her. She gets to know during the performance. But she doesn't say anything as this is my source of bread and butter,' he quipped.

'Also, in my sets I don't look down on people. I don't call them stupid for being themselves. I believe anything that somebody is doing has a reason behind it. I try to bring that reason in my comedy.' He believes stand-up scene in India is maturing and the exposure has led to a star system where people turn up to watch their favourite comedians.

'It's similar to Bollywood. There are different genres. When I started in 2010, there would be one open mic in Delhi but today there are many.

'There has always been an audience for stand-up comedy but now people turn up for specific stand-up comedians. There are those who watch Zakir Khan, while others follow Kanan Gill, Kenny Sebastian or Anurag Bassi. We find more audiences thanks to our population,' he said.

Tandon believes that while most of the comedians are passionate about the topics they are dealing with, there are those who try to cash in on trends.

'If your topic is generic and you don't feel passionate about it, it won't work. Like political comedy. I know at least 15 people who do that, but 10 of them are doing that because the other five are doing well. So it won't work for them. If you do comedy with an honest opinion, it always works.' PTI SHD BK RDS RDS