Rohan Joshi Curated

Stand Up Comedian

CURATED BY :  

This profile has been added by users(CURATED) : Users who follow Rohan Joshi have come together to curate all possible video, text and audio interview to showcase Rohan Joshi's journey, experiences, achievements, advice, opinion in one place to inspire upcoming comedians. All content is sourced via different platforms and have been given due credit.

  • What is the show 'Wake N' Bake' about?

    Ageing, privilege, and weed.

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  • Can you talk about the challenges of dealing with mental issues in a profession where you have to make people laugh?

    It’s got nothing to do with the profession. When I am on stage, I am a professional. It has nothing to do with the profession. When I am on stage, I am a professional. I have a great level of privilege and I am lucky to have friends and family to have conversations with. But the harder part is to make the larger society see that it is a real issue. It is not something that should be swept under the carpet. It is one of the ticking time-bombs for our society, moving forward.

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  • After #MeToo, are you more conscious when you write jokes about womenAfter #MeToo, are you more conscious when you write jokes about women?

    I wasn’t saying anything wrong about women earlier either. But, over the last 10 years, as the conversation on social media about women has grown, we have all been learning. I am not just talking about comedians. We have all changed. So, I think it has got to do with that than a particular incident that changed the way I write my jokes.

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  • How difficult was it for you and your partners at AIB to disband it?

    It is difficult to give up something that you love and spent 10 years building.

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  • Did you have to reinvent yourself?

    I didn’t have to. I have to get a little creative in terms of what I can and cannot say, keeping in mind the laws and extra constitutional authorities. I am always comfortable saying what I have to say. I don’t feel like I shouldn’t say something because someone will be angry. At the same time, I don’t have a brand of comedy that provokes just for the sake of provoking.

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  • How has the stand-up scene changed in India since you first started?

    It has changed tremendously, just in terms of the sheer number. You have people of all ages from all over the country. You have different voices in terms of ethnicity, gender, life experiences. I would call this stage of [Indian stand-up comedy] as the end of the beginning. We are going to move to the next stage where we will see more diverse narratives.

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  • People in India have very strong opinions about women’s bodily autonomy and sexual freedom. What are your thoughts about these opinions?

    A person’s body is theirs, their choices are theirs, their life is theirs. Anyone who wants to traffic in restrictions and conservatism in this regard can go fuck themselves.

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  • What does it mean to be an ally?

    I think what it means to be an ally is to support the conversation and participate at every turn, while being careful to not centre yourself in it, and being aware that you’re here for someone else, whatever that group may be, and sometimes that just means shutting up and listening. Occasionally, content must be created along the ideology of allyship also, but the thing we never tire of telling people is, we’re comedians first. So some jokes just… are. With no higher purpose, allyship, ideals, or goals.

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  • As an artist and a performer, what is the need to account for one’s privilege?

    Massive. I think in 2017 there’s no excuse for not being aware of your privilege, and how it’s helped you in comparison. I’m not suggesting there’s a duty on artistes to go out and acknowledge it every single day in every single performance, but when working with material where that privilege can come into play, it’s massively important to be sensitive. Like, I’m always aware that I’m a Hindu Brahmin Cisgender Heterosexual Able-Bodied English Speaking Wealthy South Bombay Man. And that string of adjectives is terrifying when you think about it.

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  • AIB is one of the most openly feminist creators of content. How does that translate into your workspace?

    We work hard to make our workplace inclusive and diverse, and more importantly then ensure that everyone is comfortable within that diverse open space, and nobody feels threatened.

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  • What is the process of writing a feminist joke?

    We never self censor while writing. The process is usually, a joke is pitched, no matter how offensive it may sound, following which it’s stress tested to see whether saying this harms the conversation or reinforces damaging stereotypes or cultures, and then it’s kept or dropped. Sometimes the process can be more nuanced. For example, what happens when we’re writing a character who’s *supposed* to be a sexist pig?

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  • AIB has been putting out a lot of feminism-positive content lately. What has the reaction been like?

    From what we can tell, pretty positive. While you have the occasional #NotAllMen ranter show up, for the most part what we see in young people at least is an acknowledgement that certain gender biases and stereotypes need to change, an acknowledgment of a need for a conversation or a reckoning of some sort even.

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  • What are the things that have informed your feminist sensibilities—as individuals and as a group?

    I can’t speak for the group, but in my case, a lifetime of being raised by strong women who brooked no bullshit and called me out on all sorts of terrible, gendered behaviour definitely helped. And for the rest, there’s just the conversation right now, and the things you learn from shutting up and listening to people sometimes.

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  • AIB was one of the biggest players in the world of comedy as far as India is concerned. Do you guys plan to reunite with something?

    AIB is very much around. We’re still working on a bunch of stuff so the next few years look exciting.

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  • You started out as a journalist. Does it play any role in your acts or influence it in any way?

    Only in the sense that I fact check my jokes if they are based on reality.

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  • What’s the biggest challenge of being a comedian today?

    There are challenges in terms of the various factors we have against any real freedom of speech in India but I think the scene is poised for very exciting things as more people and more diverse voices have started speaking their truth.

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  • How much time does it take to write and polish a new set?

    his took me almost a year of focused writing and touring but honestly, there are some bits here upon which I’ve been working on for years. The process is simple, you write a set and then perform it, some bits work and some don’t. And, based on that, you rewrite. And, then you perform it again and this cycle continues until you get it right.

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  • Has stand-up comedy in India lost its newness and uniqueness?

    In Indian stand-up, the Bombay crowd is the most critical because here, at any given point, 20 comedians are putting up a show meters from your house. At places where stand-up shows are rare, the audience is not that critical. This also pushes comedians to work hard. The audience asks I have seen 10 angles to this topic already, what new thing are you bringing

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  • Has political correctness ruined comedy, as stated by Todd Phillips?

    Todd Phillips is a successful white man. I am sorry your life is 10% harder now and you do not have the same stereotypes to fall back upon for your success. What’s happening is that historically and culturally disenfranchised groups are saying, don’t make jokes on our expense. And you need to listen to them, evolve, and adapt. Whining about PC culture comes from the same mentality which says the white man is endangered, Hindu khatre mein hain.

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  • How do you not extend online politics to the content of Wake and Bake?

    There are no two identities here. If you watch the show in full, no one will say that the Rohan Joshi on stage is any different from who he is online. The same guy, the same voice, but different subjects maybe. But well, some people follow me for my views, some for my comedy. I am okay with my special working for some and alienating some.

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  • Is it the prerogative of comedians to be political?

    In the last couple of years, we’ve had issue-driven hard-hitting specials like Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette, but we also had Anthony Jeselnik’s Thoughts and Prayers, where he consciously just chooses to offend. Like any other scene, for example, films, you want some to talk about issues and some of which you can enjoy leaving your brains at home. There’s a place for both.

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  • Does your special speak to the times? Is an entertainer obliged to speak to the times at all?

    I am confident that my special does speak to the times. Without giving anything away, it does talk about our social fabric, but instead of wagging my finger at anyone, I’d say my special is introspective. While it is chill, it also addresses the times and our responsibilities.

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