1am, some Tuesday, 2014
I return home dejected after another open mic where my material crashed and burned. The usual. It’s been four months since I started doing comedy and open mics are the only public forums where I can take my pitiful jokes and hope to evoke a reaction. But it doesn’t seem to be working.
My mom keeps some dinner for me which I don’t bother heating up. I just want to get it over with. The embarrassment of bombing on stage isn’t half as bad as coming home after work and a gig to a quiet room with no one to talk to. I can’t watch TV or I’ll wake everyone up and I can’t cry into my food because it is salty enough as it is.
Instinctively, I open Soundcloud and instead of listening to remixed ‘90s anthems (my real source of power), I check out Comedy Central’s podcast. There, in a sequential order are international comedians performing some of their new material. Curiosity took over and I start eating my meal while listening to these episodes. I listened to the episodes, back to back, each featuring just about 10 minutes of comedy from comedians who were now, somehow hanging out with me in that room that night.
With no visual to these bits and just the audio, that podcast made me appreciate every single line. I understood what joke delivery was, how to set something up, and then deliver it. It made me realise what I wasn’t doing right on stage; speaking too fast and with fear. I realised that the audience is always listening and it’s my job to communicate better. It’s a learning I cherish to this day.
I have been doing stand-up comedy and improv professionally for two years now and I also get to host my own podcast now, so I’d say everything kind of worked out. I still eat food at 1am though; some routines are hard to break.
Check out Comedy Central’s podcast channel: https://soundcloud.com/comedycentral
Check out my podcast Keeping it Queer, in which I talk to members of India’s LGBTQ community and bring their stories to you: https://audioboom.com/channel/keepin-it-queer
- Navin Noronha