VENITA GOMES| NT BUZZ
- Tell us about the ‘Married Guy’; how did you get this title and how did the character come about?
When I started doing comedy in Delhi, I was the only married one and I talked about my wife a lot on the stage. So, everyone started introducing me as the ‘Married Man of Comedy’ and the title remained with me. Marriage is one of the most talked about topics in comedy and the beauty is even now, new people bring new angles to the topic.
- How long have you been married? And what has been your wife’s reaction after watching your comedy shows?
I have been married for over 15 years, out of which I have spent the last seven years in comedy. My wife is pretty chilled out about it and very supportive, especially since comedy started paying our bills. The only challenge is that now my comedian side of the brain is always looking for material. So, even when she is firing me sometimes, a part of my brain is just taking notes for the next show!
- How do you come up with new scripts and formats for standup comedy? Is it a new script, every show or the same script?
It takes around a year to write 75-80 minutes of new content. I generally start with a hypothesis and take it on stage with a few lines. Depending upon the reaction, I keep on building bits around it. Typically a tight set needs 25-30 shows before it gets final. I either try new bits in the middle of my existing show or do complete trial shows for my new one hour.
- You recently performed in Dubai, tell us about your experience there. What was the response you got there?
Dubai audience is fantastic. They are always hungry for stories back home! When you perform in places like Dubai, you see where all the comedy is reaching. In Dubai, a lot of people of Pakistani origin come to watch and you discover the level where comedy has reached today and how similar our cultures are.
- What are some of the topics or issues which you have tried to touch upon while entertaining the audience with your jokes?
I talk about everything that I experience or go through. My jokes are about my middle-class Indian upbringing, parents, wife, children and travel experiences.
- There are many stand up comedians, how do you distinct yourself from the rest? Why do you think people should watch your show “Honestly Speaking”?
There is no conscious effort to distinguish myself. However, when you are bringing your own stories and perspective with a certain level of honesty, you will stand out as unique. My effort is only to write my own stories. ‘Honestly Speaking’ is a show where I talk about some major events of my life; starting with my arranged marriage, the birth of my children and the evolution of my relationship with my wife over the years.
- What’s in store for the audience at the show in Goa?
The jokes are definitely there and I hope they laugh. My effort is to send them back with smiles on their faces and stories that they remember and relate to.
- Tell us about your life, career and besides standup comedy what else do you do?
I was in the corporate world for over 10 years before getting into comedy – a regular engineering and MBA graduate who went through the grind. I used to run a recruitment business that I closed last year to focus on comedy full time. Now, my focus is only on writing comedy and also working on a few other concepts that are still under wraps.
- Is this your first performance in Goa? What is that you like the about the place?
This will be the first ticketed performance. I end up being in Goa almost every month for corporate shows. Goa is not just a tourist destination. It is a lifestyle; as soon as you get to Goa, somehow the mindset changes. This is one place where our whole holiday plan is to go and do nothing! Just be on the beach, eat, drink, swim, sleep, repeat. And sometimes hire a bike and ride to nowhere. It’s also been our family’s favourite holiday destination. I love Goa more during summers because of lesser tourists, more greenery and lower hotel rentals.
- What’s standup comedy to you?
I read this somewhere and nothing describes it better for me – ‘Stage is where I am living, everything else is just waiting’.
(Honestly Speaking with Amit Tandon will be on August 18 from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao. Ticket price: Rs 299 onwards)