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Known for his straight-faced jokes, funnyman Kanan Gill recounts the rise of stand-up comedy in Bengaluru

From staring at empty chairs and talking to walls at Urban Solace in 2013, to facing venues full of audiences every month now, Kanan Gill has seen the meteoric rise of the stand-up comedy scene in Bengaluru from close quarters. And, the 25-year-old YouTube comedy sensation is hoping that the city keeps up the momentum. 25AfterDark4
“There was just one venue, Urban Solace, when I started doing stand-up. Three-four comedians would go there every week, but there would almost be no audience. Now, we are looking at open mics every night of the week; there are multiple shows over weekends and 15-20 artistes come together for each event. The comedy scene here is bursting at the seams,” shares Gill, who left coding for comedy, started interviewing people on Church Street and making funny videos, and shot to national fame by mocking Bollywood films through Pretentious Movie Reviews, along with contemporary Biswa Kalyan Rath. Not to miss the female adulation that followed.
‘Me time’ and more
Currently, he has just wound up a multi-city tour called Feelings in India with Kanan Gill. He’s also working with All India Bakchod, to find the next big creator of comedy content online.
A vacation hasn’t fallen in place this year. His music has taken a backseat (he is the vocalist and guitarist of a comedy genre band, NYEH, but hasn’t done a gig in a long time). Then he plans to write articles, maintain a blog and launch a comic strip. But he is slowly and sincerely working towards ‘me time’, which is now usually taken up by comedy videos on YouTube. He plans to keep his schedule a little free for the rest of the year.
Tips and tricks
Any life hacks for aspiring comedians? “If you ever find yourself being forced to be funny, it means something is wrong, and you need to work on it. But if it’s because you have been doing too much comedy, stop being funny off-stage,” says Gill, emphasising the fact that a comedian should not be expected to be funny all the time. “Learn to say to yourself, ‘It’s good being boring. That I am not on stage and sorry, I will not be funny’.” 
— Barkha Kumari

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