King of Comedy

He is joke-a-line. His show is the highest rated non-fiction show on Indian television on which Shah Rukh Khan appeared twice to promote his film. What makes Kapil Sharma India’s funniest man? Somya Lakhani finds out.

Written by Somya Lakhani | Published on:September 13, 2013 1:47 am

Every time he comes on stage,an obvious question pops up: where does he get his sense of humour from? Many a families have spent their weekend dinners in front of TV sets,wondering the same about the funny man who has suddenly become the country’s favourite. Last weekend,to the respite of many,he finally answered,“Side mein National Market hai,waha 700 gram humour milta hai Rs 250 mein. Din mein teen baar paani

se pijeye.”

We are talking about Kapil Sharma. Bestowing the “funniest man” crown on him is no,crass,honest,quick-witted and whimsical are synonymous with his name. From being rejected as a stand-up comic in 2007 to hosting Comedy Nights with Kapil,India’s highest-rated non-fiction show,on Colors – Sharma has come a long way. “This is who I am in real life too. This is how I talk,this is how everybody in my family talks. And if people think it’s funny,then it must be,” says the 32-year-old over the phone from Mumbai.

The show that has been tickling everyone’s funny bone since June is loosely-based on the popular British show,The Kumar’s at No.42. Bitto,played by Sharma,and his quirky family — comprising a nagging wife (Sumona Chakravarti),a flirtatious dadi (Ali Asgar),an unmarried gambler bua (Upasana Singh) and Sunil Grover and Naseem Vicky as recurring cast — host various Bollywood biggies,in front of a live interactive audience,apart from poking fun at each other. It started with yesteryear star Dharmendra and since then Shah Rukh Khan,Deepika Padukone,Ajay Devgn,Priyanka Chopra,Vidya Balan,Irrfan and Shahid Kapoor have been stumped by his near perfect one-liners.

“Shah Rukh Khan appeared on the show twice. Farah Khan messaged me mujhe kab bulaoge show pe? And Lataji (Mangeshkar) tweeted about my singing. I am so humbled,” he says. 

Since Sharma won the third season of Star One’s The Great Indian Laughter Challenge (TGILC) in 2007,he has only been associated with comedy and the fact that he has a serious side to him almost sounds like a joke. “As a child,I wanted to be a singer. When I was in college,I was introduced to theatre and for years I only did serious roles. I didn’t even know what comedy was,” says Sharma.

It’s not just on-screen that Sharma takes over the responsibility of making people laugh. A few minutes with him reveal that everything he says on TV is not scripted. He thinks on his feet and sometimes doesn’t even realise the gravity of his words till they’ve left his mouth. As he gets talking about the time spent in Hindu College,Amristar,he says,“Only two celebrities have come out of that college — our dear Prime Minister and I. One,who talks a lot and the other who doesn’t say a word.”  

Sharma was so impacted by stand-up comic Gurpreet Ghuggi that he auditioned for Punjabi show Haste Hasaate Raho,a regional take on TGILC in 2005. After being rejected from the regional rounds of TGILC,he auditioned from Delhi and developed memorable characters such as Inspector Sher Singh on the show. “Kapil’s humour has a Punjabi,plebian nature and his ability to get into characters is what sets …continued »

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