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Richa Chadha on One Mic Stand: It is nerve-racking to do stand-up comedy

Bollywood actress Richa Chadha on Amazon Prime Video original One Mic Stand, comedy and upcoming films.

Written by Arushi Jain | New Delhi |
Updated: November 15, 2019 9:09:01 am
richa chadha stand up comedy Richa Chadha will be seen in Amazon Prime Video’s latest original One Mic Stand.

Richa Chadha’s filmography is as varied as it can get. The actor, who believes in experimentation, is all set to make her stand-up comedy debut. The “challenge to do something new” is the reason why she gave a nod to Amazon Prime Video’s original series One Mic Stand.

Besides Richa, One Mic Stand, created and hosted by comedian Sapan Verma, features Taapsee Pannu, Vishal Dadlani, Bhuvan Bam and Dr Shashi Tharoor trying their hand at stand-up comedy. They are mentored by top stand-up comedians Rohan Joshi, Ashish Shakya, Zakir Khan, Angad Singh Ranyal and Kunal Kamra to perform in front of a live audience.

Before the series starts streaming, Richa Chadha talked to indianexpress.com about One Mic Stand, comedy and upcoming films.

Excerpts from the conversation:

What made you take up stand-up comedy for One Mic Stand?

My motto in life is to do one experiment every year. This year, I thought let’s do this because it was quite challenging to do stand-up comedy in front of a live audience. Making people laugh is something that I have always enjoyed. I have always been the prankster and I keep doing different voices with my friends too. Despite challenges, it was so much fun to do this.

What can the audience expect from your set on One Mic Stand? Will it be similar to your social commentary and opinions on Twitter?

For One Mic Stand, we had to write our jokes and they were written on the basis of personal experiences I had in the film industry. So, it is not political. I am just talking about my life experiences. And, as far as expressing on social media is concerned, that’s the only place where one can express thoughts. Let’s see how long will we get to enjoy this freedom.

Is it more nerve-racking to be in front of the camera or on a stage? Did you have stage fear?

I come from a theatre background, so technically I didn’t have stage fear of that sort, but it is nerve-racking to do stand-up comedy because what if your jokes are not funny. What if people don’t laugh. It is very scary. But I discussed it with Sapan Verma and Ashish Sakiya who were mentoring me. They told me this is a common fear that all stand-up comics face.

When did you first face the camera? Did you experience a similar fear?

When I first faced the camera, it was after college. I was not afraid because I know how to act. But stand-up comedy is new territory for me. It is not something which I am used to. That is why I was afraid.

Sapan Verma and Ashish Shakya trained you for One Mic Stand and both of them have their distinctive style. How was the experience of working with them?

Sapan and Ashish helped me a lot. They kept asking me about my life and what do I think about several incidents. Sometimes we have experiences in our life which we don’t find funny, but when you tell them to someone else, they might find the humour in it. I think that is what happened in this case. They found humour in my life experiences, and we wrote the jokes on them later.

Did your experience in comedy films like Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, Fukrey and others help you?

Not really. Because that still is acting. You are acting according to the comic timing. But stand-up comedy is a different kind of art.

Often, actors are heard saying comedy is a difficult genre. Do you agree?

It depends on who is doing it. I don’t think comedy is a difficult genre. It’s my favourite genre so I do not look at it like work. But I guess other people may find it daunting. I find horror films difficult because you have to work on CGI and be afraid of something which you cannot see and have to imagine it. So, I find comedy easier and natural.

You just had a hit in Section 375. You have three films Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s Panga and Shakeela coming up next. Do you feel you are in a happy space professionally?

I am in a happy space professionally. The thing is you have to be in a happy space personally, then only you can think about your profession straight. The only stress in my life comes from my career. Otherwise, I have a lovely family and a boyfriend. So I am extremely happy.

Are you getting roles that let you experiment much?

I am choosing roles which are allowing me to experiment. I am getting all sorts of roles, and I am saying no to the rubbish ones.

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