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EXCLUSIVE! Karunesh Talwar: It’s not fun to try and make people laugh on a Zoom call

Karunesh expressed his views on stand-up comedy in India and how his parents react to his acts and more

Sunidhi Prajapat
Jun 17, 2021
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Amazon Prime Video’s new comedy special titled Aalas Motapa Ghabrahat by Karunesh Talwar is catching up among the Indian audience. Karunesh is one of the popular stand-up comedians who loves to crack jokes on himself. He draws a lot of inspiration from pop-culture and also supports women empowerment and equality through his shows.

Karunesh has been doing comedy shows for over four years all over the country and abroad. The comedian is famous for his gig on ‘Nidhi and her Bhajiye from MasterChef Australia’ from one of his earlier stand-up sets.

OTTplay recently caught up with Karunesh Talwar to talk about all things in Aalas Motaapa Ghabrahat, his views on stand-up comedy in India and how his parents react to his acts and more.

Talking about how the stand-up special happened for him with Amazon Prime, Karunesh said, “The good thing about working with Amazon Prime Video is that they believe in me. This is my second stand-up and they have seen my earlier work, so they trust in the comedian completely. So, creatively I had complete freedom and I had a great experience working with them for the first time for my previous special. So, when they approached me for this, I was more than happy to do it this time.”

On being asked about the quirky title of the show - Aalas Motapa Ghabrahat, the comedian clarified that the show is not wholly based on it and is just a punchline in the act. “It was a catchy title that my director and very close friend Omar Iyer suggested. So, we just took that phrase and made it the title of the show. The show is about my relationship with my parents and my girlfriend,” Karunesh added

Given that we’re all mostly stuck at home during the ongoing pandemic, a lot of comedians have been performing their sets live, via Zoom calls. Talking about his experience performing online, Karunesh mentioned that he finds it horrible. “It absolutely sucks to try to be funny on Zoom. It’s not fun at all to try to make people laugh sitting on a chair in your house unless it’s corporate or a college show. As those shows are a decent chunk of our income and we do not need to fly anywhere to perform, it can be easily done from our home. But, still they are not the same thing. You can’t even compare it with a live show,” he said, adding that live shows give a different kind of high altogether.

Recalling ‘Nidhi and her Bhajiye’ from one of his early stand-ups, Karunesh told OTTplay, “I realised that a lot of people are trolling her. So, I put out a statement where I mentioned that it’s just a joke and please don’t be mean to her. She is an amazing chef and has reached so far in MasterChef Australia. I’ve just cracked a simple joke so she shouldn’t be bothered for this by people.”

When quizzed about his parents’ reactions to his jokes, the comedian shared, “So far there are a couple of things I’ve said about my parents that they did not enjoy. But the thing is, they are my parents at the end of the day, and I’ve explained to them that stand-up comedy is a lot about exaggeration so that you can get those laughs.”

On being asked about his views on the stand-up comedy scene in India, Karunesh said, “I think it’s amazing, when I started doing comedy, I didn’t think that I would make a career out of it because there was no business of stand-up comedy back then. It was just a few isolated open mics which nobody knew about.”

“Now that it has turned into a business and OTT platforms like Amazon Prime Video are giving us the opportunity to be on that platform and people are watching us, it has enabled us to have a career out of something we love to do. I’m very grateful that the circuit exists and there are some incredible comics in this circuit,” he added.

Ask him which other career he would have otherwise pursued if not in comedy, he replied, “I would have tried to be a cricket commentator. But I think I would have said something that would have got me fired. I wouldn’t have been able to control myself and said something controversial and would have gotten into trouble.”

Karunesh also credited his girlfriend to inspire him to support women empowerment and equality through his shows. He mentioned that his girlfriend explained to him that the lives of women are not easy. “The moment I found out about the issues that females go through, I started to learn more about what feminism is, what equal rights do women actually have and much more,” he explained.

“I often get dis-appreciated for supporting women and their rights through my show. There are certain things you believe in and stand for and I will constantly use my platform to amplify the fact that the disparity is out there,” Karunesh added.

Ask him about his upcoming projects, the comedian says, “All I can say is that I’ll keep doing comedy and every year there will be more and more new material from my side,” and signs off.

Karunesh Talwar's new stand-up special- Aalas Motapa Ghabrahat can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video.

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