Stand-up comedian Praveen Kumar tells about RITZ his love for comedy
It may take a connoisseur to appreciate art, but the art of funny is something everyone knows and loves! While his conventional looks and heavy South Indian accent may throw you off, this comic has a flair for capturing ethnic quirk through his shows. Stand-up comedian Praveen Kumar tells RITZ that his love for comedy has always been an intrinsic part of his life and that’s probably the reason he got married!
The one thing that you can be sure of with Praveen Kumar it is his ultra-clean sense of humour. From tales about his college cricket match, to his take on superstitions in India, the man connects with the ever-so-conservative crowd that is an intrinsic part of his audience. “I am a small town boy from Kanchipuram and my forte is South India. Being conservative is something that is inherent and I am not comfortable making naughty jokes,” Praveen clarifies. The man goes on to offers us priceless nuggets of information, “I never use the F-word!”
“But it’s not like I have never made a dirty joke. I think my crassest joke so far was on Saif Ali Khan… So why is Saif Ali Khan always on top while in bed? That’s because the doctor told him to lie on a flat surface,” he reveals, with a hint of embarrassment in his voice. If that was the joke, we agree with his choice of sticking to clean humour.
Admitting that he hasn’t always been funny and has hit rock-bottom at times, Praveen narrates his experience of being laughed at while on stage. “The incident was a disaster, but I am proud of the fact that I didn’t quit.” Today, this comic has performed over 1,000 odd live shows across the country and is almost sold out for his next solo act ‘Orthodoxically Me.’
While most stand-up comedians rely on stereotypes for their material, Praveen Kumar leans on his own life and experiences. “Solo shows are about the comic and his life. I prefer to talk about my life, and the various things around me that don’t make sense to me. I am a 35-year-old, who is into stand-up comedy that is funny in itself. The kind of humour that I identify with is self-deprecation,” he explains. Staying true to his definition of comic content, Praveen doesn’t even spare his family in his jokes, “You may have a family, but I have faaaaaaaamily…my family tree has more branches than Adyar Ananda Bhavan.”
While Praveen is usually at his witty best, improvising on stage is something that this comic has mastered. “Gauging audience reaction is key to surviving on stage. You need to derive satisfaction from making 30 strangers laugh. If you love comedy, then comedy loves you back!” So how does Praveen manage his share of lady fans? All you get for an answer is embarrassed laughter.
“I have never learnt to write a joke. My act is like a story-telling session that deals with day-to-day situations from my perspective.” So is the perspective this comedian talks about half truths or whole lies? “The crux of every story is the truth, but I exaggerate it for comic effect,” the man answers. He also says that attaching a scene from his life to every show has allowed him to break the mould that many comedians fall into.
“Attaching a scene or part of your life to your act allows you the liberty of enough content and conviction, the two things necessary for any stand-up. Once you have a story for every stage, there can never be a dearth of content. And the funny won’t end!”
Short Takes With Praveen Kumar
- You are funniest when: I go on stage
- Happiness is: Making others laugh
- Your current state of mind: All I can think about is my new show
- Pre-show ritual: Praying
- You hit rock-bottom when: You lose confidence in yourself