That’s how Cyrus Broacha describes the origin of his comic career. The popular TV host, writer, and now stand-up comedian, performs in town this week
Cyrus Broacha shot to fame as a prankster on Bakra, the hugely popular MTV show that set the template for the genre in India. He has since dabbled in theatre and films, and even authored two books, including the 2010 title Karl, Aaj aur Kal. He currently hosts a comedy show, The Week That Wasn’t on CNNIBN. He manages to keep the humour alive even when on an interview call and doesn’t shy away from referring to himself as a “joker.” Excerpts from a telephonic interview ahead of his show:
What have you planned for your upcoming show?
I am still sitting here trying to figure it out. We’ll make it happen on the spot. But I’d like to think I have a planned show ahead, and maybe that’s what you should say.
Do you try and use local elements in a show?
We do try sometimes, but, then again, only a part of the show is actually structured in stand-up. Sometimes you also try to avoid local elements; for instance, you make fun of Delhi in Bangalore and Bangalore in Delhi.
What do you think about the Bangalore audience?
Bangalore has the most cosmopolitan crowd a city can have—the city is like the Eden Gardens of comedy. The audience doesn’t get better than it is here. If a show doesn’t work here, then you’d rather just leave the country.
What’s the hardest part of being a stand-up comic?
Actually, I prefer being called an out-of-work performer. That’s what it actually is, you are out of work and performing. Naturally, I was just one of the class jokers in school.
How hard is it to deal with the ‘funny guy’ image in real life?
In real life, I cry a lot and have lost all personality. I have been completely domesticated by my wife and all comedy has been systematically thrashed out of my life. Outside, I do meet a lot of people and we have silly conversations together.
You have been a stand-up comic, television host, a writer. What next?
At present, I am trying to get another TV show on air. Hopefully, the sponsors won’t see it until it actually goes on air and I will be successful.
What do you do when a joke falls flat?
Many of your jokes tend to fall flat on stage. But, I hardly have such standards to measure a show. In the larger scheme of things, if the audience is having a good time, it works. However, I don’t hesitate in making fun of a joke that has fallen flat. I hardly have that kind of ego.
Which has been your worst stage show ever?
There have been bad shows, ones where corporate clients didn’t know what to expect. But there was this particularly bad show I had in Lucknow where a drunk gentleman came and kissed me. I took months to recover from that.
Where do you think stand-up comedy in India is headed?
I think it has come a long way in the last few years. More and more comics are coming out of colleges in all cities. More people are accepting stand-up comedy as entertainment. It is a lot better than the way things were in 1998-99. I think we will all continue doing this for the next five or six years and then give it all up. I’m obviously kidding.
Do you watch other, especially Indian, stand-up comics? Any favourites?
I try not to watch other standup comics, lest I get influenced. I’m more into adult films you see. But, jokes apart, it is not funny for us. You keep thinking, ‘I could have said that!’
Cyrus Broacha Live, presented by Harshin Shah Concept, will be staged on June 30 at Hotel Lalit Ashok