This summer, Amazon Prime released its brand new comedy reality show Comicstaan. The show was not like some regular reality shows, it provides much more to the viewers. This show introduced to us a new talented face Shankar Chugani. His journey of stand-up started from watching the videos of other stand-up comedians and doing open mics and then participating in Comicstaan and now he is one of the best in the world of comedy. Let’s know about his journey in his own words.
In a conversation with Shankar Chugani:
How did it all start?
It all started when I came to Banglore 8 years back with only Russell Peters as a reference to comedy. I started watching a lot of standup and learning while I was working and there came a point when I was only watching standup. I saw videos of Abish Matthew in India. Then I found out that there are so many comedians in this field and there are local comedians performing at cafes in open mics. In 2013, I went to one such open mics and that was the start for me.
Comedian: Bill Burr
Mentor: Kanan Gill
Movie: Twelve Angry Men
Holiday destination: Goa
Who happened to be your inspiration?
The one person that I think inspired me to try my hand at stand up is George Carlin. I never really thought of myself as a stand up comic or someone who wants to try but when I watched videos of George Carlin, I was so blown away that I wanted to try it.
How did you prepare yourself for the journey, from a stand-up comedian to being a contestant in Comicstaan?
I’ve been doing comedy in Banglore for about four and a half years before Comicstaan came. I didn’t really prepare much for the competition. I just kept going to open mics, kept writing jokes, building new material for the last four years so when Comicstaan came, I just kept doing what I always used to do. Try and write new stuff and get on stage.
Was Comicstaan your first big thing?
I put out one video online which didn’t really get a lot of views but this was my very first time when I performed stand up on a big platform, documented videos for a platform like Amazon.
Which one do you like more? Open mics or Stand-up shows?
It is very hard to choose between one or the other because Open Mics are like Gym, where you go, you practice and you train and stand-up shows are like exhibitions where you perform, like a boxing match. One is incomplete without the other. You have to go to open mics to get yourself prepared for the stand-up shows. In open mics, you get to try and perform new material and see if its good for the stand-up shows.
How has life changed for you after Comicstaan?
I’ve been doing comedy for four years in Banglore. I really haven’t sold a show completely on my own name before Comicstaan. Now it’s been incredible that I don’t have a number but quite a few times, I’ve had full house shows in cafes, clubs, comedy clubs in different states like Ahmedabad, Chennai, Mumbai. Its good to see that people are coming to watch me and there are people who recognize me on the streets, they come up to me and talk and take photos with me.
Life in a Nutshell:
A thing you like to do in your free time:
Watch interviews of stand-up comics
A thing you carry with you always:
A thing that annoys you the most:
The fact that I am not funny as I want to be
Describe yourself through a song:
He is the jolly good fellow
What does celebration mean to you:
Take a breath of peace and have the table in your life around you and just being in the moment and having a good meal.
How do you think Comicstaan is different from other comedy related reality shows?
One very different thing is that judges are also participating. They are mentoring the comics for one particular genre. Also, the number of genres which have been covered in the show is I don’t think have ever done before.
Which one do you think was your best performance in Comicstaan? What made it so special?
The one with the Observational genre. The set that I did on Indian dance and hip-hop. There was a joke that I had written a while ago and hadn’t done for a while so for Comicstaan, I put it all together and it came so good and response was really good and most of the people come up to me tell me that we remember your that set so it was special for me.
What are your future plans?
There’s a comic called Kjeld Sreshth . Me and him are doing comedy in Banglore for four years. The next plan is to do stand-up shows with him or by myself across the country and have like a chai and egg puff meal in cities.
What should be the last line of your biography?
It should be “Catch him live at a pub or a cafe close to you and watch him make you laugh”.
Connect with him at: