The Most Challenging Content to Produce Is Political Satire - Harjot Singh Takkar

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

I have been doing standup comedy for more than two years now. I can say the standup comedy chose me. It's an interesting story: I used to write poetry and post it on Instagram. One of my friends told me to start performing it live on stage. Then he took me to a restaurant and asked the manager to give me 5 minutes to perform.

I went on stage and performed a short story with poetry. But instead of getting emotional, the audience smiled, laughed, clapped and told me its a funny story. I was very shocked. Then, the same thing happened in the next event. And then I realised that if the audience is laughing and thinks I am funny, then maybe its time to explore myself.

Since then, I have been performing standup comedy at various clubs, college fests, shows and events in Chandigarh, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Jammu, Uttrakhand etc. I also got a chance to perform for ITBP, a unit of Indian defence forces which will remain a proud moment for me throughout my life.

2. What type of content do you enjoy producing the most and is the most challenging?

I enjoy producing content on daily life observations – things to which most of the people can easily relate. If your audience is not able to relate to your content, then your content is never going to work. If Honey Singh starts performing in front of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's audience or vice versa, then you can imagine the chaos.

So, while preparing content, it also matters that in which city you are performing and for what type of audience you are performing- families, youngsters, senior citizens, school kids, etc. And for me, the most challenging content to produce is political satire because it has the highest probability of offending people.

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

Well, the digital medium is a new normal in current ‘corona’ scenario but I enjoy doing live gigs more because of the energy and atmosphere in live gigs which gives you a different high as an artist and I am yet to meet an artist who doesn’t love the stage.

Also, the collective claps and waves of laughter in the live gigs work as a medicine for a standup comedian’s soul. And not to forget, when a live gig ends, there’s an audience meet and greet which is the most lovely thing.

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

That’s a tricky one. I think everyone on this planet has a sense of humour but to present it in a way so that it can satisfy the sense of humour of other people is where all the effort lies. Having a sense of humour doesn’t mean that you are funny.

We always have that one friend in our group who makes everyone laugh just by sharing his/her life incidents and while doing so, he/she never announce “Hey listen, I am going to crack a joke. Please do laugh.” We laugh on our own because we found him/her funny.

So, in my opinion, some people naturally have a funny bone while others can develop it by practise, experience, learning techniques and formats etc. And to take up stand-up comedy as a profession, you have to learn and learn and learn and perform and perform and perform. It is not like that you walk to the stage and start speaking anything.

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

Stand-up comedy is in a growing phase in India. More and more people are now getting aware that it is also an art form and it can be taken up as a profession. The future of this profession is very bright and competitive at the same time. In today’s world, everyone needs laughter in their lives.

That's why people watch comedy movies and tv series more than other genres. And standup comedians are bringing freshness and creativeness in the field of comedy, that is why more and more people are now connecting to standup comedy. But again, the audience is going to accept you only if you have something unique and different in your content.

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

I want to spread happiness in this world and when I see people smiling and laughing on my jokes, it gives me internal happiness and satisfaction. Also, I want to raise social issues through my standup comedy which is a very tricky part because you want to make people laugh but at the same time, you don’t want to hurt sentiments of the people.

Also, money, fame and materialistic things have never attracted me to become an artist. I always feel that you definitely need money for survival but it's not about how much money you earn, what profession you choose or how much money you are spending on yourself; it's about how you are making this world a better place through your earnings and profession.

7. Which is your favourite book and why?

I mostly read motivational and self-help books. My favourite book is 'The power of your subconscious mind' by Joseph Murphy. It changed my life and thought process completely. I have read it many times and whenever I feel low, I just read it.

Its a life-changing book and I recommend everyone to read it once in life. Then I also read books of Mr Robin Sharma. I am also fond of reading shayaris. I read Rahat Indori Sir's books a lot. And if you think, I am going to mention a few comedy books here, then you are wrong, I am totally going to disappoint you.

Interview by - Sonam

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