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    The actor who failed at standup in the early years, on nailing the a�?jokea�� and going solo

    When Karthik Kumar first did standup in 2009, a woman came backstage just to make him promise hea��d never do it again. a�?Now, I have the last laugh,a�? smiles the founder of Evam Standup Tamasha who has done over 225 shows and is debuting his solo standup tour, #PokeMe, in September. But he does admit that the first couple of years were tough and that most of his jokes bombed. a�?The pressure to be funny had drained all the humour and too much analysis had robbed me of the joy of creating,a�? he explains. Now that he has a�?made ita�� (a�?therea��s a feeling that an audience will like the world Ia��ve pieced togethera�?), Kumar says he is also planning to create an online stand-up space soon and take his a�?bunch of mad boysa�? to newer markets across India. We talk to him about how he went from zero to the top of the standup ladder.

    About PokeMe
    Ita��s #PokeMe, dona��t miss the hashtag! Ita��s interactive and about all the things that are a�?pokinga�� me in my eye and in my soul. The 90-minute show will have songs and interactive dancing, and Ia��m talking about North India, South India, ajinamoto, nighties, Modi, Amma, Article 377 and Candy Crush, to name a few things.

    On September 6, at Sivagami Petachi Auditorium, at 8 pm. Details: 9940496286

    THE HANDBOOK

    Karthik the comic.
    I hide behind a mask. I wear glasses without frames, superhero tees and loud pantsa��a Shakespearean jester, so to speak. Ia��d like to believe Ia��m channelling my inner Cho Ramaswamy. Ia��m emotional, energetic, tongue-in-cheek and all over the place.

    Cracking the a�?funnya��.
    The secret is not to think funny, but to tap into an emotional source. Then use the a�?sciencea�� of comedy to punch it up. Therea��s always a funny way to put somethinga��brevity being the soul of wita��but the source is that a�?feelinga��.

    A good standup.
    Being true to yourself, being courageous, real and funny. Good standup marries comedy with what you are willing to stand up for.

    Visiting comedy clubs.
    Stand-up is most powerful when ita��s local. So I go to clubs all over because it teaches you whata��s most relevant a�?locallya��. Ita��s more of a learning because when you perform, you hardly get to listen or learn from observing.

    Keeping track of ideas.
    I record stuff everywhere. Ia��m constantly talking into my phonea��s recorder and usually when I do, Ia��m cracking up. I recorded a note on a Ferris wheel once. Ita��s the funniest ever because to this day I have no idea what I said.

    Inspirations.
    The average life of being an Indian, ita��s a riot of sensory stimuli. The number of things that are taboo is in itself a powerful funnel to see life througha��gods and their rules, coupled with god men, politicians and moral citizens and their a�?BSa�� is vast buffet of humour to pick from.

    Whata��s trending
    Improv segments woven into stand-up is a natural fit and is prevalent in the West. But it’s a bit too early to try it in India as the audience is still understanding the art.

    Surya Praphulla Kumar

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