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    Nishant ‘Joke Singh’ Tanwar on his new mockumentary and making Chennai laugh

    For a comedian who didn’t follow comedy acts, or even know who Russell Peters was, Nishant Tanwar has come a long way. Today, the man who named himself Joke Singh has performed in 10 countries and in every city in India that has a ‘comedy room’. However, ahead of his debut in the city, the Delhi-based comic tells us how his first joke was a damp squib. “A friend had encouraged me to go to an open mic because I used to make fun of everyone. I had written a few jokes, but after 15 minutes on stage, nobody was laughing, not even my friends and family. But this just made me determined to make strangers laugh,” states Tanwar, who quit his job of eight years—as an executive producer with NDTV—in 2012, to pursue comedy full time.
    While shows are his bread and butter, the 31-year-old is also venturing into unfamiliar territory. Like shooting a mocumentary in the US. “It’s like an Indian version of Borat. The film, called India’s Son Joke Singh Discovers a United States of America, is made to offend people. I thought it was time a true-blue Indian did something like this,” he laughs. Featuring observations and unscripted interactions, it is scheduled to air in the US, on Jus 24/7, in August.
    Meanwhile, at the show, Tanwar says we can expect a lot of crowd interaction (which he calls his forte), dark humour, jokes on  stereotypes and, of course, content that draws from local references. While he is a little worried about whether his Hindi jokes will go down easy, what he isn’t worried about is a conservative audience. “Friends have performed here and all of them say the crowd is fun,” he says. Surprisingly, he is also open to having a few negative voices in the audience. “Earlier, I used to ignore hecklers as I didn’t know how to deal with them. But now I take them on and I always welcome a few volunteers,” he signs off.

    August 9, from 8 pm, at Bay 146, The Savera hotel. Details: 9710976876

    Surya Praphulla Kumar


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