Atul is an Indian Computer Engineer and British Management Scholar who has brought a fresh 40+ perspective in the world of stand up comedy. He was invited to perform at the prestigious Utrecht Comedy Festival in The Netherlands and Belgium in April 2014, and at the Indian Independence Day celebration in Hong Kong in the same year. Along with this, he performs regularly at The Comedy Store, The Canvas Laugh Factory, in East India Comedy shows and private shows all over the world. Not only this, he was one of the top 20 comedians in India rated by CNN-IBN. In a fun-filled conversation with Harsha Prerna, we got to know more about the witty side of him while talking about his endeavours.
EX: To our curiosity, when and where did the concept for stand-up comedy take birth in your mind? When did you first realize that you could make people laugh?
ATUL: It was in November 2011 – when I had to deliver a speech at my niece’s wedding. I wrote a funny speech and it turned out pretty good. Thinking back, I had always been the ‘funny guy’ in my circle of family and friends who made them laugh at get-togethers.
EX: We all face some hurdles. What were the hurdles in the journey of becoming a stand-up comedian before you became a professional?
ATUL: At that time, I had a very hectic job (CEO of an IT Co.), so time management was a big challenge as I had to ride 2 horses at a time. So, shuttling between writing, doing stand-up, running my IT Company and also giving time to my family was the biggest challenge.
EX: What are the secrets to telling everyday jokes in order to get the biggest laughs?
ATUL: Keep it simple, relatable and it should relate to all ages of the audience as much as possible.
EX: Have you had any memorable audience encounter that you could share with us?
ATUL: There have been many. Once I had a lady who came up to me after the show and told me that she laughed for the first time at my show after around a year. Due to some personal loss, she thought she had forgotten to laugh. That was a big and touchy compliment.
EX: How much influence does social media have on you? How often do you check and post updates?
ATUL: It has been a huge influence. In fact, I became a comedian, more or less because of social media. I used to, and still post funny original status updates on Facebook, which are very popular and there are many friends who suggested that I should try my hand in stand-up comedy.
EX: Is there any difference between performing for a limited audience and a larger one?
ATUL: Yes, the dynamics of the room changes completely if it’s a 100-seater v/s 1000-seater. The applause hits you slower in a big room and you have to play the room differently. Finally, every audience member has to relate and connect with what you are saying and in a larger room that makes it more challenging.
EX: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do when you’re not doing stand-up comedy?
ATUL: I exercise (love to walk), go to the gym, play with my dog, wife and children (in that order).
EX: If not a stand-up comedian, then where do you imagine yourself?
ATUL: Behind a bar (mixing drinks) or behind a turntable (mixing songs).
EX: You’re no longer a part of East India Comedy, how are things working for you after starting afresh?
ATUL: It has worked much better for me. I don’t have to take care of 6 other children at EIC, there are only 2 of mine!
EX: Enlighten us on your YouTube channel and what best stuff we can find on it?
ATUL: I started my YouTube Channel in July 2017 and I would humbly say all my content is good. I have released 4 stand-up videos and their views is a total of 9 million views. A lot of new content is coming up soon.
EX: Your latest Comedian’s of the World which is a Netflix exclusive is the next big thing on the web. Tell us more about it?
ATUL: Yes. I am very happy to be part of this global Netflix initiative which featured 47 comedians from 13 countries from all over the world. Very grateful for it and it was the best New Year Gift I received. I started thinking of comedy on 1st Jan 2012 and exactly on 1st Jan 2019, my Netflix special was out.
EX: Can you reflect on your lowest lows and highest highs and share with us?
ATUL: Thankfully most of the ups and lows of my life have been between sheets on bed 😉
Best one-liner you’ve heard: Rice is great if you’re really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something (Mitch Hedberg).
Advice to the new comedians just starting out: Be humble to the craft.
Best piece of advice given to you: Get as much as stage time you can get.
One thing that gets on your nerves: When organisers of comedy shows don’t get the basics right.
In a parallel universe, you’d be excelling at: Being a dancer in a strip club.