Indian comedian Gaurav Gupta, who performs in Dubai on January 22, was a dentist who swapped his scalpel and scrubs for a stab at stand-up comedy back in 2015. At that point, cracking jokes for a living in India was an unconventional career choice and many wrote Gupta off for taking a plunge into the relative unknown.
But cut to 2022, the switch in lanes seems to have paid off as he gears up for his career’s first stand-up show in Dubai this weekend at the Emirates International School. His UAE show titled ‘Colors Night With Gaurav Gupta’ is his career’s first show in this region, although he has performed in other countries including Australia.
"I didn't leave dentistry because it was boring, but I found it monotonous after a point ... Back in 2015, when I entered comedy there was no big comedy scene in India and no one thought it could be a full-fledged career and make an earning out being a comedian. But by 2018, the scene in India changed entirely and aspiring stand-up talents began making an earning out of it and became famous,” said Gupta in an interview with Gulf News.
Prior to his Dubai gig, we caught up with him on his brand of humour and more.
Here’s his take on …
Switching careers from dentistry to stand-up comedy:
“Dentistry is not boring, it’s just that I was always interested in comedy during my college years. When I was in Dental college, I made fun of everyone and was known as the funny guy among my group of friends. It was my desire to be a comedian on stage and make people laugh. I began practicing as a dentist and was good at it, even did well in that field. But it soon became monotonous. My true calling was comedy and I knew that. Perhaps, it was that surety that ensured that I am here today. Honestly, my parents were slightly apprehensive regarding my decision. So I stuck to dentistry while I settled into my career as a comedian. Only when I was well assured that I will do well in comedy and I can make a living out of it, I left dentistry. During my days of struggle, I did both … Doing stand-up comedy is a tough job. To make strangers laugh isn’t easy.”
His decision to keep his comic material clean and free of cuss words:
“My comedy is all about family comedy. It’s clean and is all about observation humour based on anecdotes that roll out in middle-class Indian families. Our funny encounters with relatives and our friends or how we tackle middle-class issues is the crux of the show. Also I often take a swipe at the Baniya/Marwari (business and trading class) community in good humour. I avoid using cuss words or foul/abusive words. Only if a joke demands a bit of naughtiness or slang, then it’s permissible. But every comedian should know their limit. Hurting anyone’s sentiments even if you are a stand-up comic in the name of art isn’t OK.”
Tackling stage fright:
“Initially, I had stage fright but when I began doing well I gained confidence. Even today, I experience a mild sense of worry/anxiety because you never know which show will go great or not. It’s unpredictable. But my material is always rich. For my Dubai show, I will have comic material which is not available on YouTube or Amazon Prime Video, making it very cool. So whatever videos you have watched of me on YouTube hasn’t made the cut. I will be doing a new set of material which is not available on the internet.”
His process of testing his jokes:
“You need to test your jokes in front of a small audience followed by a bigger audience. You try it multiple times till you are assure that the joke will land with its punchline every time. You need to write it down and perform it first in front of a small audience. Depending on their response, you can expand on the joke and create more material.”
Internet revolutionising the lives of comedians:
“The advent of the internet has ensure that everybody with a comic bent can express their talents. You don’t need to please any agency or television channel or a digital platform. Just put your content on your social media handles and you will get views and followers if your content works. You can even earn through it. It’s an open market and an open platform for artists and the public now.”
The danger of being offensive:
“As comedians, we are always prone to offend some people. The joke – our point of view – may be funny to us, but it might not be funny to other people who are listening. Some people might laugh at the joke, but there could be two or three people in the audience who take it offensively. Sometimes, our jokes are taken out of context or they simply don’t like our tone of the joke. We are vulnerable to people’s hate as much as we are vulnerable to their love. We can’t make each and everyone happy. I have learned to make peace with that part of my job. There will be people who hate you or put harsh words or comments on your social media wall. Ideally, we should learn not to react. Remember, there are people who also love you wholeheartedly and find your jokes appealing. You should learn to move on from the hate.”
Venue - Emirates Theatre, Emirates International School, Jumeirah
Show: Doors 6 pm, show starts 7 pm