Sorabh Pant is one of India’s best and most traveled comedians – with over 900 shows in 36 cities around 12 countries – though, according to him, he did it only for the frequent flier miles. He’s toured India, South East Asia, U.S, Canada and also became the first Indian comedian to have his own show in China, Singapore, and Bangladesh. With 65+ corporate shows in just a year, he’s established himself as a corporate favorite. Rob Schneider called him “Very Loud! Killed in every city.” Wayne Brady said about Sorabh, “He is the second brilliant Indian comedian I’ve seen, after Russell Peters.”
Not only that, he is an amazing writer, and has written columns for The Times of India, Mid-Day, Hindustan Times and has a weekly column with Deccan Chronicle and Asian Age, amongst others. He is the founder of East India Comedy – one of the country’s biggest comedy collectives. In conversation with Harsha Prerna, Sorabh Pant spoke about his successful carrier, audience encounter, and much more.
Also Read: KIARA ADVANI – Rising Above The Mix!!!
Exhibit: To our curiosity, when and where did the concept for standup comedy take birth in your mind? When did you first realize that you could make people laugh? Sorabh Pant: I don’t think to stand up ever was something I ever thought I could do. It just happened very coincidentally. I had seen a lot of standups and admired a lot of comedians growing up. To be honest with you, I was really enjoying it for sure, but I wasn’t taking it very seriously as a career till probably 2012 and I started in 2008. I’ve always realized that I could make people laugh and I think it comes from my dad. Because my dad is a really funny guy and no matter what kind of a situation he is, he somehow lands up finding and making everyone feel light.
Exhibit: We all face some hurdles. What were the hurdles in the journey of becoming a stand-up comedian before you became a professional? Sorabh Pant: Hurdles were that when I started out as a comedian there was really no stand-up comedy scene to speak of. So you were literally learning on the job and in fact, at least now you have a process in mind where you do an open mic, then release a video on YouTube, and so on. Back then you were just like playing it by the ear. Anything used to happen, and I think that was the toughest thing but also exciting. I mean I’ve had to constantly realign and try and change my way of doing stand up to update myself to what’s currently going on. Because obviously the things that make people laugh, change. Certain things not, but the most of them do.
Exhibit: What are the secrets for telling everyday jokes in order to get the biggest laughs? Sorabh Pant: I don’t know actually. It’s just the more jokes you tell, the more lightly you take things, the easier it becomes. I don’t think there’s any secret. You just have to surround yourself with funny people who understand that sometimes things are just light as opposed to constantly heavy and burdensome.
– What is your backstage routine before a performance? Sorabh Pant: Backstage routine changes according to the show I’m doing. Usually, I just like to chat with people and get into a happy mood before getting on stage. Earlier, sometimes I used to get really really nervous before a show. I mean I still do, but not as much as I used to when I was starting out obviously which does happen to everyone. But I don’t have any, you know, one process. So, I think surrounding yourself with positive people before a show is literally the only backstage routine I need.
Also Read : SAHIL SHAH – Youtuber of the month
Exhibit: have you had any memorable audience encounter that you could share with us? Sorabh Pant: I’ve had a lot of memorable audience encounters. There are a couple of sets that I do these days. I do a set on depression and suicides as I’ve got a lot of younger people following what I do, so a lot of them keep asking me for advice. I wrote a set essentially targeted at them. I have had people coming up and saying things like because of that set I feel happy, I got rid of my anxiety and things like that. Trust me, it’s always a positive thing as I realize stand-up comedy and comedy as a genre even helps me deal with my own anxiety.
Exhibit: Is the respect given to solo artists in India catching up with the respect solo artists get abroad? Sorabh Pant: You get respect if you are good at what you do. I would say that all the people who are currently popular in the Indian stand-up comedy scene are either there because they worked really really hard or they are at the top of their game. And both of these things for me are very positive things so I think they all deserve it. And that’s the same case in abroad, I think standups is the most democratic art forms out there because you get credit only if you are good.
Exhibit: Who do you think are the funniest International and Indian comedians right now? Sorabh Pant: The ones I really like are Bill Burr, Brian Regal, Dave Chappelle, Michelle Wolf, and Conan. In India, my current favorite is Varun Grover, I think he is really funny. I think we should extract a piece of the essence of Varun Grover and inject it into every comedian. I think we will all get more interesting.
Exhibit: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do when you’re not doing stand-up comedy? Sorabh Pant: When I’m not doing standup, I’m editing stand up or I’m thinking stand-up or I’m hanging with my kids and trying to figure out how to write a stand-up about them. That’s about it.
Exhibit: What is one of your more embarrassing memories from childhood? Sorabh Pant: My whole childhood was an embarrassment. I think I barely had moments when I was not embarrassed by something I did in retrospect. I entered a singing contest without knowing how to sing. I sang a wrong song so on the piano the teacher was playing hotel California and I was singing some other song altogether. I was really overweight. I was not good at studies. I think what this all did was inspire me to become a comedian. I was like I’m anyway awkward and people are laughing at how I am, Why not make some money out of this?
Exhibit: If not a comedian, where do you imagine yourself? Sorabh Pant: If I wasn’t a comedian, I am pretty sure I would have been a writer of some sort. I was a writer before I became a comedian. I have written 3 novels that have been read by almost 2 people. I definitely think I would still be writing novels but I would still be in the creative field. I don’t think it would be doing anything else.
Exhibit: Best piece of advice given to you: I have got a lot of advice and pretty much ignored all of it. I am a terrible person!
Exhibit: Must have tech-gadget: I love the Fitbit! I use it all the time and lost like six kilos in a month. A lot of it was also from my body.
Exhibit: Your favorite social media app and why: Instagram! I think it’s a positive place where people are not angry all the time.
Exhibit: Most Inspiring Tech Entrepreneur: I am really impressed with whatever Elon Musk is doing, I think SpaceX is pretty cool.
Exhibit: Favorite Web Series: Going by Netflix I think Sacred Games was great, and also Rick and Morty.