Ramkumar - Chennai's Comedy Scene Is Still an Evolving Scene, and I Hope It Will Evolve Fast (Comedian & Product Manager)

I call myself an IT comedian because I create a lot of content and jokes from my workplace and day job.

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

To be honest, I still have not chosen Comedy as a full-time career. I work in IT as a product manager to take care of both my family and comedy expenses. Chennai's comedy scene is still an evolving scene, and I hope it will evolve fast, so I can take this full-time. But to answer why I became a comedian - I always had that funny bone, and always had a knack for making the people around me laugh even when I was young and had been doing a lot of stage performances during my school and college days. 

After joining IT, there was a break of more than a decade before I joined this public speaking forum called Toastmasters. After joining Toastmasters the old performer in me came alive and I became a humorous speaker. 

Becoming a comedian from there is a natural progression. I call myself an IT comedian because I create a lot of content and jokes from my workplace and day job.

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

I love producing and performing all sorts of content when it comes to comedy. Anecdotal and Observational sets are my forte. I sometimes try character and sketch comedy, even PowerPoint comedy as well. Improv comedy is one area where I have not tried my hand, actually my mouth yet – and is a little scared to start with. But one day, I will.

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

I personally enjoy live gigs. That’s where you feel the audience vibes more. Performing to a camera is at least OK, and I do that for Sketch videos to be posted on my channel. But performing comedy or getting the audience to connect on a Zoom call is not easy, but we are just doing it as the need of the hour.

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

Having a funny bone helps, but it’s not an absolute necessity. As with any other skill, you can develop creating and performing comedy content by practice and time. I personally know comics who have bombed a lot during their initial days and then developed the skill by consistently hitting open mics and have become the leading comics in the circuit. So if you think of starting comedy, start hitting open mics, and be consistent even if you bomb. Keep doing it and you will be there someday.

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

Mumbai and North India are good enough to pursue comedy as a profession. But South, esp. Chennai’s comedy circuit has just started evolving. Here people come to comedy shows only for few comedians, to be precise for few names, and not for comedy. The same happens with corporate shows as well – opportunities are not fair. So, most comics here in our circuit have a day job and we perform comedy in evenings and weekends. And with India’s Covid graph raising an all-time high, I am not able to assess the future, at least now. But I hope the doors will open and break will happen, sometime in the post covid era.

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

I don’t want to make a huge impact on anything. I love going to stage, I love to perform, I love to make people laugh, and I will continue to do that as long I can, and I am not feeling bored. When I start feeling bored performing, obviously the audience will start feeling bored listening. If that happens someday I will start looking at something else.

7. Which is your favorite book and why?

‘Product Management for Dummies’ and ‘How to WFH effectively?’ are my recent favorite books. Actually, I read a lot of books in my mother tongue Tamil. S.Ramakrishnan and Sujatha are my favorite authors and I have read almost all their books, and reading books in my mother tongue helps me with perceptions in creating content in my regional language, that relates to my audience well.

Ramkumar (Comedian & Product Manager)

Ramkumar is an aspiring standup comic from Chennai. He grew up in Tirunelveli, the son of a strict Maths teacher, but acquainted with all the mollamaarithanams in the world. He had a knack for making the people around him laugh from a very young age. 

He is a jack of many many trades that includes fitness, half and full (marathons), cycling, yoga, traveling, blogging, reviewing movies, public speaking, making funny videos, pranking people effectively and what not. On the other side, he works as a Product Manager and has a decade of IT and corporate experience with 6 different companies in 3 different cities. He, in fact, changed his company once because there was no good Andhra mess near his office. He is also married, has a 5-year-old, and lives in a community with 300 other families.

- Interviewed By Pratibha Sahani

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