I had the pleasure of having a candid conversation with the comedy kings Kunal Kamra & Rahul Subramanian who were here in Dallas for a standup comedy show. Here's their story Dallas, sit back and enjoy!
Swati: How did you enjoy performing in Dallas?
Rahul, Kunal: We had a great time, the audience was so responsive and so full of life. It was almost like performing in Mumbai with the exuberant crowds that motivate you to do better!
Swati: We’ve had so many comedians come to Dallas this year – Amit Tandon, Atul Khatri and they all had an IT background; clearly there is a strong correlation between IT and comedy. What are your thoughts on this?
Rahul: That’s a fair question because in India most people end up doing IT. From the same batch of people, you will see other careers evolve like pilots, journalism and comedy. So that explains why most comedians have an IT background. Kunal actually is unique in that he’s not from IT (Kunal chuckles).
Kunal: Yeah, I am a BCOM drop out. I actually saw that poster where all fish are going in one direction and that one fish is going in opposite direction; I chose to be that fish. But if I become a PM someday, I’ll fake my degree, Kunal quips.
Swati: How has life changed for you guys after being famous in comedy scene?
Kunal: On a personal level, it hasn’t changed much. To us, our content/ delivery is same just that now we have more people coming in to listen to our show and now we are expanding geographically. From performing in Nagpur, Nasik, Ahmedabad, we have evolved to performing internationally and are glad to be here in Dallas!
Rahul: To add to this, comedy platform is still very grounded and connected to the audience. It’s not like Bollywood where with one movie you shoot to fame. End of the day we are normal people who still travel by Uber and still use discount coupons!
Swati: Rahul, on one of your shows we heard how your breakup inspired MBA. Is that true?
Rahul: Wow, that’s a tricky one! Well, I’d say my breakup didn’t inspire MBA but breakup was the reason I did MBA, basically to get away from it. Before the MBA entrance exam results are announced, you have to buy the admission forms for colleges. I didn’t get admission in any of the colleges I had bought the forms for. But there was this one college giving out forms even after results came out and that’s the college I ended up joining and here we are! So yes, sometimes something good can come out a little bad in life.
Swati: Tell us about your most embarrassing moment on stage so far.
Rahul: For me it was performing at a standup comedy show where only fifteen people were present in audience, none of whom were really listening. In the middle of the act, these five girls right in the middle stand up and request me to take a picture of them. And guess what, I did! Those five girls were 33% of my audience so I couldn’t have disappointed them. So that was me, taking a picture in middle of my act!
Kunal: During one of my shows, an elderly uncle eating pasta got so offended by my comedy that he got up in the middle of the show shouting “This is not comedy, this is anything!”. That was the most discouraging/ embarrassing remark I received till date, comparing my comedy to “chicken tikka” would have felt a little better (Kunal giggles).
So this was our inside scoop from the
comedy kings Kunal Kamra and Rahul
Subramanian. Hope you enjoyed
reading their story. Stay tuned for more!
What's Your Story with Swati Goyal
I was neither born lucky nor born genius, nor born talented. When I peep behind the shut doors of the past, immense complacency overwhelms me, marveling at my own resurrection to what I am today. I was born in a small, obscure town of India. Of the few memories I can conjure, I recall the wide drains bordering the narrow brick lanes, the rowdy railway station, the hustle bustle of a typical Indian grain market, the squealing hawkers and the jubilant temple bells.
My life was to follow the same suit had my dad not decided to migrate to Chandigarh (an urban city of India) in pursuit of an alternative business. The imminent target after that was to get me into a good school. My mother enrolled me into one of the leading schools of Chandigarh-Sacred Heart Convent school. While the school boasted of it's highly polished and multi faceted students, the admission criteria was grossly formidable. As I raced through my 2 hour admission exam, my mother's heart raced and pounded with each passing tick of the clock. I exited the hall in oblivion of the fact that what I penned inside was not an exam but my destiny. To everyone's surprise I was taken in the school- the most coveted and celebrated school of Chandigarh.
Like I said I was 'not born lucky'- 'my mom' made me one
As I staggered into the relatively alien turf, I realized it was rather an opening of 'Pandora's box of troubles'. Being a convent school, it was mandated that each student converse in English. Hailing from a small Indian town, my base language was Hindi. While the weighty English words poured out of my peer's mouths glibly I struggled to put together the same hostile words to form coherent sentences. I would be too shy to raise my hand to answer a question, fearing the mockery my ugly stutter would result in. Whenever I was asked a question, I stood frozen, humiliated and drained out of life. Our school conducted monthly parent teacher meetings to evaluate student's performance and give necessary feedback to parents. I so dreaded this demon that resurfaced every month. My palms would drench in sweat, and fingers wrestle nervously as my mother fidgeted on her seat uncomfortably, bruised by an interminable tirade of complaints from my teacher. While other mothers walked out smug and exhilarated, my mother walked out low head, her hopes thwarted.
Brimmed with guilt and remorse I finally decided to rather face my fears. The mirror became my best friend as we spent hours together talking and rehearsing in English. I would deliberately broach controversial discussions with my friends to challenge my English proficiency. I started reading vocabulary books, newspapers, editorials and rummaged the dictionary for new words. I would jot them down and review them rhythmically until I became comfortable with their usage. Gradually, I gained a command on English and along with that came a better understanding of my academic subjects and that of the classroom sessions. I still remember the massive leap I made in my scores startling the teachers as well as the toppers of my class. All it took was a focus reinforced by the desire to excel.
Like I said I was not born genius, I found in me one
My initial success in academics triggered success in other domains as well. My earnest efforts and avid interest helped me refine my literary and oratory skills. I participated and excelled in several events like press conference, extempore and debates. I even contributed articles for the famous 'Hindustan Times', an achievement I cherish till date. In recognition of my supreme communication skills I was appointed the 'Marketing committee head' in college. On similar grounds, working in Infosys on a cross-cultural, Indo-Chinese project I was given the task of mediating any conflicts arising due to cultural disparities. My persistence and hard work helped me not only surmount my initial obstacles but also channelize them in the right direction to unleash the talent in me.
Like I said I was not born talented, I chose to be one
Behind every success, lies a motivation and my motivation was and is,
my mother who exemplifies tremendous strength of character, worth
emulating. Also insults can do to you what laurels can't. The humiliation
I faced at the hands of my teachers and peers ignited in me the desire
to excel in every domain I floundered in. I believe that criticism, if taken
in a positive stride can actually help us transform our weaknesses to
strengths. Success like learning is a cumulative process, one success
laying the foundation of yet another and for me my first success was
the motivation for each success that followed thereafter.