'Comedy comes from issues that bother me'
Cracking jokes on sensitive issues like Feminism, Classism, God, Religion, without offending the audience is an art and Anshu Mor has brilliantly mastered it over the last few years. The 44-year-old comedian ditched a high paid job at Microsoft for the love of stage and to follow his passion of entertaining audience.
Ahead of his stand-up act in Delhi, we caught up with him to know more about his style of comedy, how he manages to engage the audience and much more…
How would you define your comedy style?
I read somewhere that it takes about 10 years for someone to realize what their comedy style is – that too through their audience. In my case, people often tell me that my comedy is really 'intelligent. Maybe that's because I prefer talking about slightly more serious issues like Classicism, God, Feminism among others.
I believe, comedy doesn't come from pain, but from issues that bother you; and at my age there is a long list of such things. Obviously I have very strong opinions about most of them which I try to convey through my comedy.
…Are you happy with your style?
The moment I start talking about these edgy topics like God, feminism, death, classism, I can sense a little uneasiness in the crowd. They are like 'oh he is going to talk about feminism.' And then to see the room echo with laughter is just amazing. It's almost like taking people to a little darker place and making them laugh there.
It's challenging, people might get offended, but I am lucky that they haven't to date. No women have thrown a bottle on me yet. So, yes I am happy (Laughs)
Is there a fear that people won't laugh at your jokes and will leave you in an embarrassing situation?
Oh yes, it's a constant fear. I would say, it's an ego-crushing experience when that happens. In my entire life, I haven't felt anything which is as humiliating as being on stage, cracking a joke and seeing the audience go silent. This one moment stays with you for weeks and that's one reason why most of the comedians leave this field.
The only way to deal with it is to get on stage the very next day and face it.
Besides this, what do you think are the reasons that Comedians don't stay in the field?
Some people always stay in the artiste mode (only focusing on their art), which is not bad.
But what happens is, over the years, the realisation that they are not making money out of this work hit them. They don't think of the business side of the equation, and later when the reality strikes them, all the bitterness comes in.
My view on this is, you have to be an artiste but also learn to make money out of it.
Secondly, people come in this profession for the jazz of it – spotlight, fans, selfies. But when you actually come on the stage, face the audience and struggle hard to make them laugh, you see that reality is far from your expectations.
Do you believe that we (Indian comedians) try to copy the west?
Stand up in the US has been there for around 60-70 years. So it's very logical that every aspiring comedian would look at that whole era of comedy, see how it has transitioned and get inspired.
You have to understand that comedy is a very new industry in India. As far as the Indian Comedian are concerned, I feel that the pace at which they are working is phenomenal.
(Anshu Mor performed during Spoken Fest 2019- Delhi Edition, at The Hub, DLF Promenade. The festival offers platform for some of the most effervescent voices, poets, storytellers, thespians, lyricist, comedians and musicians)