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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Stand-up comedian Naveen Richard: Acting is much easier for me

Stand-up comic and actor Naveen Richard on the lockdown, the stand-up scene and acting.

Written by Komal RJ Panchal | Mumbai | Updated: April 8, 2020 7:18:44 pm
naveen richard Naveen Richard had an interesting chat with fans on The Indian Express’ Facebook page. (Photo: Naveen Richard/Instagram)

Stand-up comic and actor Naveen Richard recently went live from The Indian ExpressFacebook page. During the live session, Naveen spoke about the lockdown, the stand-up scene and acting.

When asked how he is spending time at home during the lockdown, Naveen said, “I am staring at the sparrows which come on my window. We have a bird feeder up there and we just sit and look at parrots and sparrows visiting us.”

Talking about working from home, he said, “For us freelancers, it is more or less standard procedure to try and be productive sitting at home. The only difference is we don’t get to go to open mics very often. Even if you haven’t done anything in the day, you go and hit a open mic in the evening. On the way there, you think of one joke or three jokes and even if one joke lands, you feel like it was a day well spent. Now, there is no way of telling if your joke works or not, so I am not going to write jokes during the lockdown.”

During this live session, some viewers asked Naveen Richard a few questions about his craft. The stand-up comedian was first asked about his writing process. He replied, “When it comes to stand-up, you have to find a couple of hours in a day to write, and it really takes time to get into it. The first half-an-hour of writing, every day, is just hopeless, that’s when most self-doubt creeps in. That’s the time I ask myself if I am even a comedian and how I managed to write a one hour show last year. Maybe I have lost it. And, then suddenly it starts flowing. You don’t know for how long the flow is going to last, so you better squeeze in as much as you can.”

Naveen has been in the stand-up scene for a few years now, so one viewer asked him how he deals with hecklers when he is performing. He said, “The first time you get a heckler, you don’t handle it very well. I am not a guy who gets mad, but back then, I would be in my flow that I would get frozen when they heckled. It was 9-10 years ago. But now I am much more free. My style is more conversational, so if someone heckles, I address it and come back.”

There is a sudden rise in stand-up comedy, according to Naveen. He said, “It is probably because of YouTube. I started a long time ago, with a lot of my colleagues. Most of the comedians started around the same time. The only ones before us were Vir Das and Papa CJ. Once YouTube blew up, Kenny (Sebastian) was one of the first ones to blow up. And then it was just free for all.”

The stand-up comedian added, “To be at the top in this game, you have to be innovative. To be innovative, you got to be original. That’s the only way to go on. I keep thinking who I am as a person. Initially, when you start comedy, you try to be someone else. You try to be someone like your favourite comedian. But then slowly you realise that ‘no, it is not working out. You have to be true to yourself.’ You have to be the funniest version of yourself and to find out what kind of funny you are. Once that is clear, you apply that on stage.”

Naveen Richard also stars in the show Pushpavalli on Amazon Prime Video. He was asked by one of the viewers what he preferred – acting or stand-up. Naveen said, “I really love acting. To be honest, acting is much easier for me because you write your lines long ago. There is no audience there. For me, it comes more naturally and much more easily. A lot of comics will say otherwise, but acting comes relatively more easily to me. For stand-up, you have to keep writing, keep changing and keep improvising. You have to be in the moment at all times, but I can get into a character much more easily.”

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