PC : Joshua V
With the burst of the entertainment industry, stand-up comedy has become an admirable profession and has influenced a lot of people. Guru Nicketan aka Nicketronix has taken over social media by the storm, transcending boundaries! In a conversation with Chennai Insider, the comic guru shares a sneak-peak about himself and his journey, oh and also a lot of jokes!
When did the concept of stand-up comedy start on a serious note for you?
It all started when my friends introduced me to stand-up comedy when we were returning from a theatre competition that we lost. They were discussing Russell Peters and I wanted to be a part of the conversation, and they showed me his video. I slowly started watching a lot of stand-up and discovered the Indian comedy scene, and I wrote my first set then. I was in 10th grade. I took it more seriously when I came across Aravind SA’s first viral video a year later, in 2015. His content and references were very relatable and that is when I found out that Chennai had its own comedy scene. I gave it a year and started performing at open mics in 2016. At 17, I was the youngest comedian in the scene back then. I pursued it as a hobby until 2018. I decided to take it up seriously after a series of setbacks because I wanted something challenging to focus on.
Do you remember the first joke that you ever told?
Not really, but I’ve always been the type to crack film references in social situations. The first joke I wrote, as a part of my set in 2014, was about Salman Khan and Harry Potter. “Salman Khan would be a perfect fit to play Harry Potter if it gets remade in Bollywood. He’d be known as the ‘Bhai who lived’
Does a good show give you a rush? How about when you bomb?
A good show, for a comedian, is the best high he or she could ever get. It makes you feel great and the energy you feel is simply mad. Bombing can have the exact opposite effect, especially if you’re in the early stages. Eventually you get used to it and you start introspecting as to why you bombed and how you can improve. Even bombing gets fun as you keep doing comedy.
Have you ever been heckled? How do you usually deal with hecklers?
Not really. Sometimes I carry on with my set, if I’m able to think of a comeback, I’ll hit back. My most memorable heckle though, was from my own mom. She’d come to pick me up from an open mic, and it hadn’t ended yet. I was the last one to perform and she just came in to see what was going on. Unfortunately for me, I was cracking jokes about her. She said “Nee veetuku vaa!”(Wait till you get home!) And went back to the car. It was a great experience.
What were the hurdles in the journey of becoming a stand-up comedian before you became a professional?
I still don’t think I’m a ‘professional’ per se, but I would say it was about figuring the art form out and staying true to it. Besides that, staying resilient despite failures seemed a little hard because I’ve quit playing sports and instruments in the past because I couldn’t handle failure.
What do you do when you’re not doing stand-up comedy?
A lot. I’m a student, A Student Marketeer at Red Bull, and I intern at an education startup called Warhorse. I also write and create content and occasionally blog.
Who are your comedy idols?
Again, the list is huge. But I might as well list it out. Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr, John Mulaney,Anthony Jeselnik,Trevor Noah,Aravind SA, Alex, KK, Praveen Kumar, Jagan Krishnan, Mervyn Rozario, Biswa Kalyan Rath, Kanan Gill, Sorabh Pant, Kenny Sebastian, Rahul Subramaniam, Sumit Anand. I also admire a lot of people from the Chennai comedy scene, namely- Abishek Kumar, Manoj Prabhakar, Guru Narayanan, Sudarsan aka Soda, Aaquib Jaleel, Vikash Paul, Yogi and Baggy.
Tell us about your current show, and your future shows that have been planned?
I definitely don’t have anything planned for the future, because I don’t think you can do something like that in a field like comedy. The show I’m working on currently is called ‘Group Therapy’ and it talks about mental health, my struggles with it and about how we treat mental health in general. I’ve performed it a few times and it’s still a work in progress.
What message do you have for people who are just getting started on stand-up comedy journey?
Be original, discover your strengths and weaknesses, learn as much as you can about comedy, watch a lot of comedy, and work on being a better version of yourself by reading, expanding your knowledge and doing productive stuff. Hit as many open mics as possible – apart from performing, you get to talk and jam with other comedians. It’s part of the entire experience. Also, don’t let bombing get to you.
Anything else that you would like to share?
I’d urge you, the reader, to extend as much support as you can to the local artists in your city. Follow them on Instagram, share their work, attend their live performances. For the scene to grow, the audience has to grow with it.
Know a great story or want to tell us your own?
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