Rahul Subramanian says that stand-up comedy being recognised as a legit profession (in India) is a big achievement in itself.
“When I started I had no idea that it will become a full time profession. Earlier, it was a thing that most people did while working somewhere else. It was just a hobby but now I see people taking it as a serious industry,” said Subramanian, adding, “A lot of young people are joining in without worrying about their future or questioning if this will work or not. There is a sense of security now. It’s becoming an industry, which is big.”
As the art form of comedy is becoming more acceptable, it is also finding its route into the regional languages. Rahul sees this as a great success for comedy as an industry.
“Language is a huge part of humour. Your jokes or punchlines are much better in the language you’re familiar with. It is only logical that regional comedy will grow because let’s say a Marathi comedian will say a much better joke in his language and subsequently the audience will relate much more to it,” he said.
However, with increasing popularity, there’s a downside too. Comedians are now called out for their jokes being insensitive and sexist.
“Comedy is not about saying honest things, it is about jokes. And jokes are not facts,” he said.
So how does he draw a line and decides if his jokes are funny or demeaning?
“Honesty in comedy is to do things that you find funny, the line is drawn by others who watch and interpret,” Subramanian explained.
He added, “I don’t know what that line is or if there’s any. I think it is different for everyone. What comedians that I know of do is that they say things that they find funny and that’s the only constant rule that you can follow. Sometimes you’re trolled for it, sometimes people like it and sometimes they don’t. As a comedian you can never pre-judge it,” he said.
He continued, “Sometimes I get threats and hate messages for my acts but apart from trolling, I have also got a lot of love. I get so many messages saying they loved the act or I made their day. People also message telling me that they were going through some tough time but my comedy cheered them up. So both things exist.”
Subramanian has performed a set for Amazon Funnies, which is available on Amazon Prime Video.