Aravind Subramaniam popularly known as SA, likes to describe himself as a filmmaker by profession and a stand up comedian out of frustration! He is probably one of the reasons why stand-up comedy has become a ‘thing’ in urban Tamil Nadu given that he was amongst the first few who dared to take on the challenge to get behind a mic and risk humiliation while trying to get a room full of strangers to laugh at his jokes and not at him! Fortunately for SA his pronounced ‘Madrasi’ tones, free-flowing humour and effortless body language worked with an initially reluctant audience. In no time he got everyone LOLing and ROFLing, and before he knew it he had created a new space for creative comedians like himself…
Wardrobe: www.That1too.com and Rare Rabbit
Usually the progress is from being a comedian outside cinema and then getting into cinema. but you began as an assistant director and then moved out!
Yeah! Life is tough as an AD. You work at all odd hours and you hardly get any payment. I may have enjoyed the job, but getting my folks to understand why I did what I did expecting little in return, was the tough part! So moving from that into a space that was non-existent was only worse! I doubt they even understood what being a stand-up comedian meant.
Before you started earning likes in millions, there must have been videos with hardly any views, right?
Of course, but there was no feeling down and depressed about that. I did what I did because I loved doing it! I did not do it then and I don’t do it now for the ‘likes’. If you put out good content, you get a good response. It’s as simple as that.
What about all the controversies & the haters that your content creates?
I don’t say things to stir up a controversy. The whole ‘lungi dance’ episode was just to set the record right about who a Madrasi really is for our Bollywood-loving brethren. As for my comments on Ajith, thankfully I spoke good things! I did not expect just those few lines to be taken and made into a singular clip. I truly understood that there is a whole unseen Ajith brigade working day-in and day-out! As for the hate-comments, I don’t bother about them at all. My concept is simple – if you can’t type in a comment about a person that you cannot tell him in person then you are nothing but a coward. And I definitely don’t have time for those people.
“Pick up a mic and start talking! The more you talk, the better you will get at it. That is the only tip for aspiring stand-up comedians!”
How much do your friends love your sense of humour?
You mean in day-to-day life? If you asked them they would probably say I am not funny at all! They are a harsh lot. They will just keep a straight face through my every attempt to make them laugh! I will feel so smart and witty, sometimes as I make a joke or a funny comeback to one of their statements and they will just not acknowledge it! They blatantly tell me to stop trying to be funny because I am funny only during my shows!
What’s the most annoying thing people say to you about your shows?
Not exactly about my shows but there is one thing that really gets to me. See the moment people hear that I am a comedian, not only do they expect me to tell them a joke as soon as we meet, irrespective of how well I know them but they always have a ‘free joke’ to give me! It’s like free advice and free opinions – uncalled for and unasked for!
A ‘free joke’?
Yes, they will show me a WhatsApp forward that they find hilarious or some joke they read somewhere and tell me to use it in my show. Now, they do this not for their benefit but for mine! They share the joke and with a wink tell me I can use it in my next show and they won’t tell anyone about the source! Do they honestly think that’s how we create content – by stringing together WhatsApp forwards!
So how did you get the content for your new show?
Madrasi Da was the show that got all the attention. It served as a medium to communicate true ‘madrasi’ issues in a comic way. My new show is called I Was Not Ready Da. I wanted to stop the North – South discrimination and actually come up with content that an Indian in general will enjoy. I actually tested the jokes in small clubs outside of Tamil Nadu. I made note of the ones that were well-received and fashioned I Was Not Ready Da based on that response. Thanks to SA the stand-up comedy scene has really grown and lots of youngsters are giving it a short. An extra dose of laughs is always a welcome ingredient right?
A COMMON MYTH ABOUT STAND-UP COMEDIANS?
Is that they are funny off-stage! Ask my friends, they will tell you I am funny only during my shows!
Written by Kaanchan Prashanth