Did you ever imagine that Comedy Nights With Kapil will be so successful?
I believed in our show. But we never thought it would become so successful. I want to make a special mention of Dharamji. I wanted him to come on my first episode of Comedy Nights With Kapil. But his PR team turned us down. He was travelling and his schedule was tight.
However, I wanted my show to begin with Dharamji. My father, who is no more, admired him greatly. In fact everyone from Punjab hero-worships him. So I went to meet him personally. I said, I had decided if I ever have my show I’d start with Dharamji. He took not even a minute to agree to come on my show. He came on the show, and blessed it saying it will run for years. So my show is blessed.
People expect you to be funny all the time?
People are a bit confused about how to behave with me.
They want me to entertain them. Some also do me a big favour by asking me to act out the previous night’s episode for them on the spot as they were unable to see it.
Is that difficult?
Ajeeb ajeeb reactions milte hain. At times I’m awake all night. Then in the morning when I am waiting to catch a flight, people expect me to be as funny as they see me on TV! When I don’t live up to their expectations they are disappointed. I am sure when people meet Sachin Tendulkar on the airport they don’t expect him to hit a sixer in the lounge. But I am supposed to carry my vocation everywhere.
I love it!
How much of your time per week goes into your show?
Oh, practically all my time. First we develop ideas, then we build them into scripts dialogues, etc. Comedy is a very serious business. I started out doing comedy as means of livelihood. Now it’s become a responsibility. Pataa nahin kyon... I have to deliver the laughs every week.
How do you keep the comedy free of vulgarity?
It’s easy to raise laughs by talking dirty. I feel if the government allows dirty talk liberally even that would cease to be funny. When people say mine is the first comedy show they can watch with their children I feel happy. When the Punjabi comic actor Rana Ranbir told me he watches my show with his daughter it was like the Oscar for me.
Why so many jokes about people’s paunches?
(Laughs) I need to lose weight myself. So I make digs at other people’s weight. Maybe my jibes would help them to lose weight. And please tell me, if my jibe about someone’s stomach has 1.5 crore people in splits then what’s wrong with it? There is such a clamour to be part of the audience on my shows. I sometimes feel we should ticket the entry on my show and give the money to charity.
How did you acquire a taste for stand-up comedy?
Through observation. I come from Amritsar where people have a lot of time to snoop into their neighbours’ lives. ‘Yeh Ambale wali bua iss hafte bhi aa gayi pichle hafte bhi aye thi...’ These are the kinds of observations I grew up with. My mother also has a sharp sense of humour.
Are you as funny when you are not working?
Jee bilkul. I was always light-hearted. My journey as a professional comic actor began on a regional channel. I got a good response from Punjab for it. Then I tried to get into Laughter Challenge. But they rejected me. I auditioned again. Ironically, the same judges who had rejected me ultimately declared me the winner. That’s how my journey began. I have gone through many phases in my life and career.
How do you rate yourself now ?
I’ve seen a lot of improvement in my work. I’ll remain a student all my life. If I start believing I know everything it would be the end of my journey.
I want to act in films and write. I always wanted to do my own music album. Music is my greatest stress-busters. Now I have an album offer. But I don’t have the time. I’ll do that soon. One life, and so much to do!