World renowned comedian Papa CJ was in town and we caught up about performing in India versus broad, advice for new comics, and a bunch of other things.
Follow papa CJ on twitter on http://www.twitter.com/papacj or https://www.facebook.com/papacj/
United States


00:00:00Make some noise for your 50th how many Daddy
00:00:17yeah but you believe it
00:00:26in fact I got to pronounce
00:00:44IDK WTF podcast what's up everybody welcome back to yet another episode of global comedian podcast this time the man who embodies Global in his comedy mr. Papa CJ very honored to have him locj love you too I think I'm Global because nobody hires me locally only thing I won't do your local gig in Bombay I'll only do business class you find me to Singapore or whatever hello man how are you dude I was here one cellphone to DSLR as what's up CJ how are you been recovering from the last time we hung out in Van Gogh yes yes for those of you who don't know I'm sure a lot of people do but in case you're new to the,
00:01:44Biz Papa CJ is a legend amongst the comedy scene in India and Asia and many other places we got really drunk I think a few months back pretty hammered yeah we got we were hanging out of Bangor club and it would we do we were just turned on mine now. We were sitting inside and then the music was louder than outside and I just remember there's a whole lot of whiskey in the yeah I don't remember much else there was a whole lot let me make sure your mic is on right yeah is it of course Papa CJ a professional of course no sew a lot of people in the, so I can know you you been doing comedy for a while you've started a lot of the comedy and a lot of the name of that we now know in the country for the select few who don't I do this with every single guest can you give a background about your back story and how you came to be the man who was sitting here today oh my gosh it's so my dad had sex with my mom about 41 42 years ago. And that's right it kind of started okay grew up in
00:02:44parent plan the same thing cuz I know his birthday is today so interview cuz I insisted that we go downstairs and I don't know what I want to come up with the hotel room I had to bring all my beautiful backdrop of Bangalore but then our face to be under so if I go on my father worked at a company event in his naughty Gardens and then we went to a boarding school in Himachal and did my undergrad from Delhi University apply to Oxford for an MBA program somehow they made a mistake I got an answer to Cologne did the NBA what's in a Consulting in a consulting firm for four years in London okay pay back my loans took a year off Wednesday and Brew Festival saw somebody being stand up and I just thought it was the most amazing thing in the
00:03:44I'm in case the guy with the microphone in one hand the drinking the other and you just having fun and that's his job so I thought to myself you never go to try this and this was a 2004 August okay and October 2004 I was in stage for the first time and I did 250 gigs in my first 10 months Jesus OK 700 my first three as in the UK and didn't kind of backing how did you get plugged in so quickly in the city because that's like it's very hard for you coming Comics to jump right into disc golf It's a combination of hard work and traveling so I traveled a lot and also what happened was I had a I had a company car which I was still tired of paying them his fault so that allowed me to out-of-town tags as well so the London gigs normal you do a hole in the wall Pub in there before 5 people maybe 50 if you're lucky
00:04:42but the Arden gigs you go you have to drive to Headliners and as a result you go to 10 minutes apart but this would be a small town in the middle of nowhere in the entire town showed up so you had 300 people in the room I say what was wonderful about those shows I mean one of the nicest things was you what you were in a car for 8 hours with 22 comedians who have been doing it for maybe 15 years so I've spent over $2,000 with such expensive communities on the road and I would literally beg them saying please watch My Side please give me some feedback and I would get to see them work a room live you know something different when you're watching a special on on the internet but to see things not going well to see what's happened in the room before and have the context of that and then see how they work those rooms was invaluable I would listen to them break down these sets talk about how things went on the way back and that was fantastic initially when you say
00:05:42how to get paid nothing in fact when you go in somebody else's car you go to pay your share the picture I remember there was a night I was somewhere in Battersea South London I got dropped off at about 2 in the morning and I didn't have money for a taxi and I had to change to different buses to get home at 4:30 in the morning I remember hiding in the roads when you enter the shop there's a little Gap hiding in one of those gaps cuz I was so cold and shivering just waiting for the bus in questioning oh my God, is this what I want to do but I think I just the beauty of that point was I didn't know how difficult it was to succeed I was so ignorant that I just went on with it okay and I'm broke so I took a job with the recruiting firm I just walk in the day before midnight and then in 2008 end of 2007 I moved back to India
00:06:35and did my first store in 2008 I was called for Last Comic Standing they called me to audition the worst record in the top 10 ridiculous was I had just moved back to India sure my agent called me on the 14th of January 2008 and he said listen guys want you to audition so I said what's the deal so he said it's a free ticket to Miami of the yeah yeah I've seen one episode of the entire show I don't know I just you never watch yourself on TV one episode of me being on that show I've never seen an episode before I had never performed in the US before I think it's a it's a miracle I even got as far as I did because you know you don't know what material works in the country until you've tried it once so I think I was just really lucky to get to the top 10
00:07:34and the sensible thing at that point from a career point of view would have been to stay in the US gig there cuz your rates go up everybody knows you just moved back to India after being in the UK of 80s and I want her to be home I want to be with my family so I can and that was the deciding factor for me to say listen I was sitting in London thinking what am I doing here when everybody who matters to me is back home so that was for me the the turning point with said I'm going to move back
00:08:10okay and I did my first two and India in 2008. 5 Series II to an 2009 and early 2009 I started of the open mic circuit in yep and a lot of the guys on the Indian circuit did the first gigs at that first open mic sure so there was a lot of money that you probably wouldn't mind Tree Cafe or mind something goes his place and that place but he came later so what happens when you start circuit you start by so getting the same going into each other in the support of atmosphere nobody here cuz the comics because the problem is as possible exposed to Comedy you turn on the television and you said Jerry Seinfeld and then you walk into the mocha binary place and you expect Jerry Seinfeld there that's not going to happen so I can happen yet so it was very important to create that environment not only of ensuring that the audience is about the comedian's comedian support
00:09:10Heather and I seen that was a beautiful young boys West End Girls listening area I think that was a beautiful time in the stand up seeing what everyone was supportive and it was really nice and then what happens is the most age time will start setting up their own gigs so raghav started running his own gigs to be there to handle inside unit kick things off so I was quite happy to go and Poppin today gigs and rest of her and yeah so from there so ticked off and the market in India was
00:09:47Edmodo coming back I had not an auntie who came to and she said somebody to so I said Auntie I'm a comedian I tell jokes and she said I also tell jokes but what do you do for a living but it's beautiful to see how that is changed over the last how long it's been almost 10 years now and you are obviously very well known amongst anybody who is doing the comedy space cuz this guy has been in the UK and all that but just to recap so you can start at your hair like as an Uber driver for Comics basically like you were driving in the gig that pretty much soaking up their brain and their knowledge what you what you had a big ass as well I had a big asses weren't even though you were driving with an emergency of us yeah I don't think I'll make it one third okay I will still paying 1 lb / the night for all that needs to be paid 10 quid and and I wasn't getting paid for any of these kids okay got your butt. Gave you your chops and then you got an agent within the year so it doesn't
00:10:47an agent just within the comedy community so I used to do the gong show in London store in the world last 5 minutes see people in the audience of randomly given Redbox resist urge to make them if they're bad Heckle them destroy them do what you want about 25 Comics Katana night the average time a comedian last 90 seconds so I used to do that gig Alert in London and it's just called management should learn how to be hot as hell in the crowd at the beauty of that digs you learn how to be funny every 15 seconds right the second is a disturbance in the room you learn how to use as a Heckler you can just let the guy carry on you learn how to address it handling put them down get back from there yet so that makes you a very very Snappy car maker makes you in in the zone sort of aware of everything
00:11:47when does this dance tights to new gigs like that as well because I think a lot of clubs are looking for a certain kind of comedian to play the room it's very sad. Punchline to the punchline which may not suit all styles comedy but there was a great place for holding the craft I got to see a lot of comedians performed as well they will let me in for free the stuff for wonderful I still think it's one of the best clubs in the world and up my agent for the last 13 years 12 years Brett show me there and he used to be with another agency earlier and he still look after me to Lily in the leg and he now looks after Jim Jefferies is well in the UK so he started up his own outfit then and he was betting on me and I was petting him and he's just a wonderful guy we don't have a contract it's just a handshake
00:12:47to the older guys are trying to like kind of like catch up on digital and that sort of thing and I was just talking to some deep Sandy proud and to your point about being in the zone and being in the element like a lot of people there are clips of you doing a lot of crowd work online is it a stand-up lives but you don't actively upload content for see what's out there it's old and repeated content it's from ages ago and felt like I was talking to some deep and you made a great point about you know staying on your toes because comedy is funny because it's alive art form it blossoms online people go to people who only bought them online they're maybe not as strong as and performers offline and I heard a story about you doing the show during the frames that some deep just I think earlier this year and he was saying there's a lot of Alias comedians there a lot of big British names everybody was vomiting but a friend that you had a really good show and it was a very like
00:13:47Johnson setlist is that
00:13:50basically you get on stage you don't have so much commuters when they perform they have a set list of I'm going to do this I'm going to do that when you get on stage behind you on the screen comes up a random word subjective. Bad traffic or something no it's not it's it's not a regular subject play traffic on planes all my grandmother
00:14:20it'll be dumb
00:14:22the influence of brexit on mice who suffer from pancreatic cancer what happened that night do you remember any other jokes for the points that you had to keep of that I don't know how good it is Sunday 15th April
00:15:07what time in Nepal
00:15:33December 2nd
00:16:16how's married life treating you
00:16:56Amazon home delivery
00:17:22yeah but that was a really good night because I think the trick to that show as well is you don't you don't get straight to the punchline you don't use the words that are on screen so my strategy was to come up with the roundabout story that eventually surprisingly led to that conclusion okay and it's a as a comedian you scared shiftless doing that show of course but it went it went pretty good actually okay yeah because it was what I love when stand-up comedies a lot of people they see us or they see their Heroes on stage and they don't realize I took that guy or girl 10 10 months or a year or two years to write that like wow and then they come the next day and they see them either do the same continent or disappointed or they see them try to improvise something like that list or comedy in the dark or whatever and they just bombed and say just watching like Batman like trip over like a small block
00:18:22and see if I go into New Jersey 10 minutes news top 10 new jokes on stage maybe three of them would work if a new comic goes maybe one would work we don't know which street would work until we don't stay of course I'm going to five minute snooze for 10 minutes. And I get silence I'm going to lose their audience as a comedian I will put one new joke in between two old ones so in case dips then comes back up near so as a result it takes time to accumulate in what industry we spend a lot of time allowed in the retreat the show the show all this medicine and then we milk it Til Kingdom Come There and Everywhere by the DVD or Netflix I would have been put it out there so what's your like in the sense
00:19:17the comedy scene in India is changing every year I feel and it's it's so interesting because we came you know 2010 thing I met you the first time 2011 somewhere and you know there was a handful maybe 5-10 people who are doing it a lot of the names were still sticking around now and then some people who have dropped off right then there was now it's 2013-2014 when the explosion of digital a lot of stuff has been happening as somebody who is done comedy World why does somebody who's seen the sea in the air from its infancy l in pregnate it basically and let it Let It Grow what's your take on what's happening right now where you think it's going are comedian that just getting started is a room for a thousand more comics 10 more comedy clubs like just give me a general like supposedly I think it's wonderful to what's happening on the what's up what's wonderful to see is how passionate young comics about the craft sure I think there's room for a short a thousand ten thousand more comics
00:20:17ladies room for comedy at every level list for regional comedy for English comedy for Hindi comedy and what beautiful is that with comedies there is no career path that is until I'm going to do a backbend and was scary as Hell by the way I mean from stand up you can do web series you can do improv you can do television you can film it's up to you what you really want to do you know so each person has to carve their own path but it's great to see how it's booming across multiple cities what I would like to see is the one thing I would like to see sexy different is for comedians to be more supportive of each other occasionally and I see this is a third person because I don't largely perform on the circuit I barely do any so I could keep it on but it's not nice when you see people who are trying to go up by pushing somebody else down or giving people feedback that isn't constructive
00:21:17nice to see a new comic more concerned about what the comedian in the green I was going to say then how the audience is going to react to his performance
00:21:26but I agree and I'm looking at all three cameras right now all of you please stop gossiping and bitching and being an asshole to everybody else because it's good to see that you don't even that they're comedians I have had conversations with in the past who may have a completely different point of view is made which is perfectly fine but the passion with which they're into the craft wonderful to see and up what's up what happened is I mean the old farts man speak for yourself like I lost my chance to sober up a little bit as well but not so fast about the yeah I agree completely the problem now is you know 10 20 30 years ago there wasn't Twitter and everything wasn't recorded and chatted about an on-the-record you were just here say about gossip and I tell this and every podcast
00:22:26everybody watching I think it's so important I always say that if Comics spent 10% of the time writing jokes as they do bitching about each other there's nothing to bitch about because even gotten what 10% the time they just be blossoming with their new material and then whatever we spent 2% of the time writing that we spend on social media but not the real upside of all the digital explosion he said it's Chris meritocracy and you can get known for your craft really quickly up the one big downside with all the Social Media stuff is that comedians don't have the freedom to make mistakes anymore right there was a time where you could go to a club work on stuff be terrible do stuff little letters radical or offensively but still can work it out and figure it out and then figure out what the right answer was 50 gigs down the line after having tried it for the right
00:23:26because somebody's going to see that and put it with ice or so and so he was shit yeah I just bought I bought twice a week on the regular at Mike's yeah but that has nothing but yet it stopped yet I'm going to photoshop it when somebody else yeah but we've lost that freedom yeah I mean one of the best pieces of advice I bought when I was starting out was from a comedian call Adam Bloom okay you said it's very important for you to grow in the dark because once you hit the Limelight you don't have the freedom to screw up
00:23:58what's happening now is because of social media sometimes people getting famous really quick and the Limelight is on them now 10 million hits on a 5-minute clip is not going to teach you how to work a crowd for an hour sure right now Different Drums across the world sure so but then the flip side to that is if you're famous people don't necessarily come to see you be amazing to see you being you yeah you know you know some of my Clips have done well and I've drawn out 50 people a hundred people 200 whatever but then like slowly the next you don't and then I'm like whatever but to your point like do you want to get famous for his or do you want to get funny first realizes yeah I'll still take a 10 billion view video because at least then there's not coming to the show but the point is that people are attracted more to the personality and the person
00:24:58sometimes in the jokes themselves so it's like you disguise made me laugh on 10 ft logs or 10 stand-up lift for the podcast he can be mediocre I'm just going to be happy that I'm seeing him in fact they go to listen to the same words that person who said on the clip sure they want to hear the same jokes every time I talk to comics and people in filmmaking and you know RJ is personalities Etc actors like I don't think a lot of us have a five-year plan for say the way to heartprints do but ironically since you're you and I do a lot of corporate shows or if there's a career trajectory road map for Papa CJ on a PPT somewhere where would it say you know I think so
00:25:40one of the reasons probably that my career does not progress at the pace it could is because I've never viewed comedy as a career still sort of look at it as a hobby I just love doing it I've never I'm not competitive in my comedy I believe the only person would be better than is the person you were yesterday so I don't know I'm just enjoying myself I'm in the process of Summer last show naked is being turned into a book so I'm in the process of writing that somebody may want to turn it into a film I might even want to do I don't know I don't have a plan in mind it's just about I'm fortunately now in a position where I don't need a job to pay my bills and my needs pretty limited so I have the freedom to say I like this I'm going to try this little bit I like that I'm going to try that for a bit so I'm going to keep skipping live stand-up I love that maybe I'll get on digital for a bit
00:26:40and let's see what else comes when I love being you countries I always up for me and you can please and one area of focus that I definitely want to do is that I know believe that I'm not just in the car company business I'm going to happen this business so there are three strands of my work one is that a stand-up comedies making people laugh the second is I like doing motivational speaking kind of stuff in colleges open to either inspired or equipped people to reach their goals share and the third thing is Charity stuff so earlier this year and you are part of that as well I learned something cool Happiness Project yeah so open offer to Charities two weeks I'll do as many shows for free and we did 7 gigs and raised 45 lakhs Charities that wasn't me I want to keep doing that I recently started doing shows for cancer patients at at at at an oncology center that was a text
00:27:40is Webster and I want to keep finding more opportunities where I can have a positive impact on people's lives got it and I would also like to try to my business card you can find a cheesy but it says ambassador of happiness I would like to beautiful I would like to start penis but I would like I would like to start a program where we recruit whole bunch of people who in whatever capacity they can try and do some work that has a positive impact on people robbing okay that's fair that's where the thing is when you tell a comic something like that all his narcissistic piece of shit in my other car just pulled over like whatever that's great and I remember you doing those shows and we did a few with you and it was just a lot of fun so that's that's very
00:28:40you have three verticals you have the motivational speaking the office the stand up comedy here and now that I'm charity stuff that you have a book coming out and all that and I think that's such an important point for comedians earlier you mentioned that comedians there's no real career trajectory but there still is like you are still in Enterprise so you still got to have your hand in 10 baskets you got to have some acting chops you got to have some speaking chops you got to have your jokes you maybe write a book or be on TV to do something to make of it I create what I'm saying is you're still an ever-expanding product in Madden 10 different directions so as a comedian it is is the point that I was going to be expanding if you want to expand sure you don't want this thing of Oso answers doing this so I should do it this guy today if you don't want to do it I mean I did not leave the corporate world to get into a creative field
00:29:40and being ratteries in Creative what's the point yeah unfortunately some of us are doing that but understood so okay just to wrap up a few other things so what what's your so your advice to like a lot in you, kisses don't get caught up in the bitching and that sort of stuff I just say that enjoyed the craft try and learn the trade before learning the tricks of the trade you know and I've always believed you forget good
00:30:12I mean if you love what you do you'll get good at it if you get good at the money will come challenges lasting out that. Between loving it in the way I'm coming and realizing what it actually is and how it's a little bit different you expand the notice everyone says all follow your passion for the passion fruit passion doesn't necessarily feed the stomach so show you go to feed the soul but you gotta feed the stomach as well so and the only Independence is financial Independence so once you can pay her own bills if you do what you want understand and there's no of what's happened. So now I find it that a lot of people think that the company is a vehicle to have the higher moral ground right
00:30:54there's no right to have been called that you can just do fart jokes man yeah you know so you going to be by yourself whatever that might be you know you don't need to be a part of the other take a higher ground or whatever people ask me like why I'm not doing political jokes or why I'm not like dude I'm not an angry person and number two I'm not very political like in any country that I have grown up and I'm like I like doing my stuff and having food on the table rather than worrying about like you know what this politician said and I get that it matters but there's a space for that but I'm not waking up everyday angry at Twitter like cuz you're always and have an indefinite should have stuff to be angry email to judge people let me know if you want the freedom to do
00:31:38100 open mics a year sometimes you have to do 10 copper chose yeah right that doesn't mean you sold your soul it means you're putting food in your table that allows you to do that I mean what I find most valuable nanny performa is authenticity one of the reasons I love her and Grover for example because what you see is what you get and that's him sure if you're trying to tell in ordering something you think they want to hear ya you don't believe in it then I'm going to buy it are you chasing Lobster are you having a laugh so I kind of find you or chase you or whatever like and hopefully it's it's the latter where you for laughing and stuff you actually want to talk about two coats yesterday from Greg proops and he told me when was Bill Hicks how do I see Jay is in town for the Whose Line Is It Anyways events so we're catching up and he is Greg Brooks is the Improv and stand-up only one was from Bill Hicks and he said less funny more
00:32:38more me more me okay which is about just being more of yourself be honest about who you are and there was another one by Lenny Bruce he says I'm not a comedian I'm Lenny Bruce Miller Vein which is in the rain yea which is exactly that which is you've got to be you yeah you don't have to be what people think the comedian is just be whatever works yeah man you want to tell stories you want to do improv you want to eat your baby so final question because I think it's really exciting for me to have you on this because a lot of comics now in India will kind of you know play the markets you know the major city is here maybe a couple of tier two cities and if they do go abroad bill just they'll probably do a very Desi or Their audience right now which is of course great right but you and you know a handful of others are expanding into that scene but also playing in the same team in Melbourne and in the
00:33:38okay what does it take for a comedian coming out of India to succeed on a world stage
00:33:46I think you've got to you go to understand what makes people taking different countries you've also got to remember that another audience doesn't have to agree with your material they have to relate where you're coming from so whenever I play new country. I also promoted to keep the last 10 days with newspapers I go there I read up on what's been happening with the last 10 days I talk to people about the history of the politics the scandals I get a feel for the pulse of bear opening on various subjects in their country I always start my show with stuff about them then you've got them you can act it a little bit you guys just had an election or you guys this that and then you can take them across Beyond borders but it was very important is to
00:34:35play different audiences I mean as a comedian you learned nothing from a good show you woke up thinking it amazing of course yeah but in a bad show you get feedback every 15 seconds and there's nothing worse than trying to make people laugh and getting five minutes of silence so you go to think to yourself if I'm in the same country with a similar organs again what can I do differently so I don't look like a fool yeah so far I actually feel ya is the only way to succeed you got to play different games yeah I mean I've done since 2006 so far what is so varied eegee's ranging from little little 292 how to play that gig again sure you're not even in India are done with these weddings anniversaries baby showers year old party Association today oh yeah
00:35:35history of 30 in the army community and that's what gets you better man I didn't I always try to tell God makes like you know the great gigs are good I can make you good but like the really should eat to make you better you know like in the sense like you'll grow cuz if you can literally and I've seen CJ do this even that gig we did in Pune year that you heard us and it was like imagine that typical local Army club or whatever we're on a long run a huge stage and the moon October nothing was knew nothing was going to happen tennis courts with 2,000 chairs and about 20 people to help 2000 Terrace 20 people showed up and were sitting a hundred from the stage and CJ God bless him like all of us ate a fat one on stage and CJ went and like walking to the audience and got everybody to have a good time I remember and that's all learning experience for somebody like me
00:36:35hate to be like man if you can do that like that's pretty impressive that was a dumb yeah I know but you make it look so easy but I know it comes from all the battles are you just going to look at man you just got to work it well anything else you want to say and I got a book coming out I know your show is you know getting taped or even though I mean for the comedian's just love doing it for the audiences pay for tickets these guys could make a living doing stand-up pay for tickets go watch a live stand-up is good to watch a clip on the phone but it is no substitute for being in the room and seeing what has what the comic has had to do to give you those three minutes on the screen this is a half an hour of struggling of fighting or working a crowd at to do that so support life stand up and enjoy it man and follow Papa CJ on Twitter Instagram Facebook YouTube link in Google Plus thank you
00:37:35find finder. Are you on there I don't worry about you take it you took it off I just

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