Comedian S Aravind better known as Chennai’s home boy SA, about his journey
He brandishes his unique sense of humour, ‘the Madrasi’, leaving his audience in splits and sounding like him as they exit his show. RITZ caught up with comedian S Aravind better known as Chennai’s home boy SA, about his journey on stage and his love for the Tamilian stereotype.
For those who haven’t watched SA perform, it is his energy and flair for theatrics that make him the master performer that he is. His act is peppered with broken English, Tamil lingo like ‘macha’ and his more than slightly exaggerated ‘Madrasi’ accent leaves the audience in splits.
Notwithstanding the laughter this comic elicits today, Aravind recalls a time when he was used as the opening act on stage. And if his experience is something to go by then “opening acts mean you are the worst of the lot.” However, Aravind is more than thankful for those trying times saying, “It’s a thankless job, but nothing toughens you up like going first.” Flash forward from then to the latter half of 2015, when SA caused the Bookmyshow servers to crash.
Talking about his idea of comedy, Aravind tells us that that he finds humour in everything around him. “Every joke out there has a context. It may be crude jokes, dirty jokes or even simple evil jokes. I enjoy all of them.” So what about parties who are offended by the joke? “Someone always has to be the target of the joke. Even a chicken crossing the road joke is offensive to the chicken. Sometimes the only leeway we have with our jokes is that audiences don’t realise who the comedian is targeting,” he laughs.
SA possesses a unique skill set of getting the injured party to laugh along with him. “Humour,” for this comedian, “is a deadly tool that can be used to manipulate people to laugh at themselves. You need to package a joke in such a way that it seems cute and does not feel like an attack on someone. I can’t tell a North Indian, ‘You guys suck’, that’s just bad humour. It’s about making them buy into the argument that ‘you also suck, we also suck. We might as well suck together!’”
While his ‘Madrasi Da’ draws majorly from the Tamil stereotype, Aravind is well aware of the fact that his jokes may not be funny to a Caucasian. “Humour is only funny when you have been in or can relate to certain situations,” he reveals. SA tells us that the biggest facelift for his act happens when he is performing for a non-Indian crowd. “The most important thing a comedian needs to be able to do is to read his audience, either on stage or before they go on stage and work on improvisations based on the audience.”
Though one may only find a few YouTube videos to his credit (not to forget his iconic “Why Chennai is the virgin capital of India”), social media seems to have played the role of matchmaker for Aravind. He says, “Initially I never saw this as a long term thing, only when it started to gain views online did I realise the potential. Chennai primarily has a theatre and movie market, both of which tell dramatized stories. To me stand-up has a perfect mix of reality and storytelling which people relate to.”
While Aravind did pursue film direction in college, he looks at his change in career as a new way of telling his stories. When asked if all the stories he tells are true, Aravind cheekily signs off saying, “You’ll never know!”
Quick five with S Aravind:
- Happiness to you is: Madras
- Most treasured possession: My football team jersey from school, I was the captain.
- When do you think you are the funniest: When I’m the most pissed off.
- Pre-show Ritual: I shower, it’s the biggest stress buster ever.
- Present state of mind: Really nervous about my show abroad