He is the breakthrough stand-up comedian in India who made his way up with his sheer talent and his rib-tickling humour. With some great shows like the hit talk- show Son of Abish and Comics than in his kitty, Abish’s fan following goes way beyond the boundaries with over 1000+ shows in India and abroad like New York, Canada and Utrecht international Comedy Festival (Holland). Just in case you still doubt his popularity, he was one of the first Indian Youtuber, whose views crossed over 30 million on his channel. Engrossed with talents like singing, dancing, creating content, Abish had also debuted in Bollywood with Meri Pyaari Bindu in 2017. If you think you know all about him, well, there’s much more to discover about the unapologetically funny, Abish Mathew in an exclusive interview with Harsha Prerna.
EX: to our curiosity, when and where did the concept for stand-up comedy take birth in your mind? When did you first realise that you could make people laugh?
AM: From a very young age I liked to make people laugh. Never had an audience but always had an extended family. Honed a skill to hold the attention of a gathering at family parties, where whiskey took most of the attention away. Much later in my youth with the advent of the internet, I stumbled upon Robin Williams live at the MET & immediately thought, “This is what I do with friends and family and school while hosting, but this is exactly what I wanna do”. After that, I followed what stand up comedy was & one comic after another I was on route to figure how to make this my profession.
EX: What are the secrets to telling everyday jokes in order to get the biggest laughs?
AM: Try and try and try again. Some jokes will kill hard and some jokes will bomb hard. We are unable to generate laughs every day, it’s on an average that we judge a comedy set. The intention is to always make people laugh & with more years of experience, it gets better. So, the secret is more like an open secret which is “GO AGAIN”.
EX: What is your backstage routine before a performance?
AM: Before I go on stage, I hate being left alone. I love speaking to people and keep the vibe happy because I take that energy in the stage. But, when I am backstage, as soon as my name is announced, I always make “a sign of the cross” and then walk on.
EX: How much influence does social media have on you? how often do you check and post updates?
AM: For me the appreciation that social media grants are highly addictive not the voyeurism. So, the days I don’t post anything, I am of social media, but if I start posting them my usage also increases to check how it’s doing. My brain has also figured a way for me to not feel that guilty by lying, “Abish you are not checking for the number of likes so that you feel better, you are merely checking the analytics of our recent posts for optimum correction for future posts”
EX: Is the respect given to solo artists in India catching up with the respect solo artists get abroad?
AM: YES, it is for sure catching up & we will be among bigger strides in this field.
EX: If not a stand-up comedian, then where do you imagine yourself?
AM: I would have been a robotics engineer or an astrophysicist or a mad millionaire scientist. And, in this hypothetical situation, I am considering myself to be good at any of these.
EX: Do you observe situations and create comedy or can you create a comedy just in your head?
AM: I feel, “Opinion leads to acute Observations which is a good set up for a punchline you can craft”
EX: What is one of your most embarrassing memories from childhood?
AM: They are not embarrassing any more. As all embarrassing moments for a stand-up comedian are premises for their next bit.
EX: Who in your mind would make an excellent talk show host?
AM: Kaneez Surka
EX: fav celebrities to have on the show?
AM: I would love to have all Gods on the couch to finally get to the bottom of this. If not, any 5th dimension being would also be good.
EX: After an insane season, what sets season 4 apart?
AM: Right now, we are on season 5 and its back on Youtube. All our learning from the previous 4 is making this season a bit more of what people might like. But most importantly for me, having retained a huge team for 3 seasons when they have done bigger shows and stuff does make me feel happy that they might be liking working with me.
EX: Season 3 of Son of Abish, went from just being an idea into a full-blown production. how do you feel about it?
AM: It was the faith that people had that made me also feel confident about the show. I would have continued in a season 1 show but the team was confident that we could make it bigger & more polished and that shared confidence is what keeps me going.
EX: What can we look forward to 2019?
AM: Other than 2 seasons of Son Of Abish, I am looking at doing something special which will be a surprise for all. And if I don’t do it, there will be no evidence anywhere about this “surprise”.
Favourite Gadget: Mac Book Pro
Most inspiring tech entrepreneur: Abish Mathew in an alternate dimension.
Your favourite social media app and why: IG, because it breaks down the distance between creator and audience.
One gadget you wish existed: 1. Gesture control for typing. 2. Even more Accurate voice to text.
An advice to the new comedians just starting out: Go again and again and again!
Best piece of advice given to you: If your life plan has the word “eventually” replace it with “right now” and re-read it.
Favourite cuisine: Malabari food.