"I would like to heal along with everyone else and make everyone happy" - Manish Tyagi

Manish Tyagi

1. How and when did you choose comedy as a career?

I am 52, and an Engineer by education and profession. I have served in the Indian Navy for 23 long years. I quit the Indian Navy in May 2012 as a Commander and got into Corporate Training since I wanted to pursue my dream – to train people and impart experiential learning. At that point of time, I was also engaged as the Business Head (India) for the channel partners of Cummins India Ltd. to market Cummins brand of marine engines and gen-sets across India. 

During this period, one of my very close friends from Mumbai told me about a new art form known as Stand-up Comedy and suggested that I should give it a try. It took some time to figure out where it happens in Delhi but I finally landed on stage for the very first time in August 2014. I think I always had a funny bone in place because as a kid, I would always entertain my family members with my jokes and observations. Being serious was not one of the things that were expected of me when I was around. Like I mentioned, when my friend introduced me to this art form and I began performing in Open Mics, I knew that this is what I wanted to do for sure.

2. What is the story behind being called the knotty commander?

During one of these trips to Dehradun, I met this amazing guy Onkar Khullar, who also goes by the name Digital Gandhi. We were speaking at the same event and during the return trip, he asked me to create a handle which would resonate with my past and also the kind of content I do on stage. Sine the speed of a ship is measured in Knots and my jokes are inclined towards naughtiness; I chose the word Knotty. Commander was easy since I was a Commander in the Navy. Hence, the name Knotty Commander.

3. You're also a trainer, a host, a motivational speaker, an actor and juggle between different roles. What type of content do you enjoy producing the most and is the most challenging? 

Stand up Comedy, any day, is the most challenging of all. Whilst acting takes a toll on your time and training needs a lot of preparation & time, Stand up is the toughest art form because you perform to a live audience in all sorts of places such as bars, clubs, etc. and the chances of people getting offended is very high. Plus, there are no retakes. It’s then and there.
But then, where there is no risk, there is no gain. Adrenalin rush during a gig is very high & the satisfaction after a kick-ass show is unmatchable. 

4. Do you prefer digital as a medium or do you enjoy doing live gigs more and why?

Live gigs, any day. As mentioned above, the energy level is very high during a live gig since there are no retakes. Also, you get different types of audiences during a gig and it’s not an easy task to please everyone, more so in a county like ours where intolerance is very high. Having said that, one has to be active on social media and go digital from time to time, otherwise, people won’t know of your existence, right? Digital gets you fans & followers who eventually buy tickets to a live gig.

5. People, who are interested in taking up stand-up comedy as a profession, do they need a funny bone or can they develop one?

I always say this to anyone who wants to become a comic. “What do friends and family say when they see you at a wedding or family function? If they are happy & excited about your presence and say that you are fun to be around, then you have it in you”. Having a funny bone is essential to become a stand up comic else, neither will you feel & find stuff funny nor will you deliver it funny.

An aspiring comic also needs to figure out as to WHY he or she wants to pursue this art form. Comedy is a serious business and one can go far only and only if it’s a passion. I would also say that be original and create your own style which people can relate to. Don’t try to copy anyone or try doing their material. Be yourself. Patience is a definite virtue one has to have.

6. How stable is being a stand-up comedian as a profession in India? And what is the future of this profession?

We are a nation of 1.3 billion people and growing by the second. The awareness for Stand up Comedy is also growing fast, thanks to the internet and unlimited bandwidths. It's nice to see that even Tier 2 cities are hosting stand up shows and audience coming in large numbers. Good shows also often translate into someone getting you over for a private or corporate show. There is time before it peaks in India and anyone who is talented & hardworking can & will go places for sure.

Also, Stand up Comedy is like any other form of entertainment. You have to keep evolving, working hard and pushing the boundaries. That will define how stable it is as a profession. The sky is the limit to the kind of money one can make in this line as well.

7. What impact do you want to make in this world?

I have said this often in my TEDx talks that India is 140th in the happiness index in the world. And it continues to slip down further. I would like to heal along with everyone else and make everyone happy. After all, we have one life and deserve to be happy. 

And one day, I wish to speak at the TED talk and convey my message.

Manish Tyagi

Manish used to be a Commander in the Indian Navy before he decided to become a Stand up Comic sometime in 2014. An Officer and a Gentleman, he has some very funny tales to tell from his life experience. His style is full of unprecedented stories blended with wit and humour. 
His Facebook page & YouTube channel have over 90,000 followers, with multiple videos having almost 1 million plus organic viewership. His jokes have also been aired on 91.1 FM & 94.3 FM in the past. His video “Le Kaun Raha Hai Be” is already touched 2.2 million views on YouTube. His popularity has fetched him shows in Delhi NCR and he has performed solo at multiple locations across the country such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar, Ranchi, Chandigarh, Lucknow, etc. Till date, he has done over 50 solo shows, hosted over a 100 shows & many more open mics.

Manish is also a regular at Canvas Laugh Club at Mumbai, Gurgaon & NOIDA and also at the Taj properties across India.
He was an integral part of a very successful comedy fest held at Auckland, NZ & Sydney, Australia on Mar 18.

Manish has spoken at Josh Talks, 9 TEDx conclaves & is also a regular with corporate gigs and has performed for IamSMEofIndia, Madhyaam, Tata Sky, Tanishq, Tata Motors, VLCC, DSV India, McKinsey India, Cummins, various conferences, etc.

He is also an aspiring model & actor and has till date, one digital ad & 2 web series under his belt. His images are available with Images Bazaar & are regularly used for print ads.

He has also performed at various Naval establishments & goes by the name “The Knotty Commander”.

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"I would like to heal along with everyone else and make everyone happy" - Manish Tyagi "I would like to heal along with everyone else and make everyone happy" - Manish Tyagi Reviewed by EMN on April 24, 2019 Rating: 5

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