Hey Other Siders, meet Jitesh Vasani – he describes himself as a ‘Part Time Comedian – if that’s something’. Jitesh is a Chartered Accountancy student with an amazing sense of humour (Yes, they’re not exclusive; they do co-exist :P). He co-founded Paperboat Entertainment with Ankit Bhuptani and creates online content with a pinch of irony and lots of sarcasm. He also writes humour column ‘Just for Jest’ for ThinkinNagpur.
It all began with an Open Mic in October 2014 at the Canvas Laugh Club, Mumbai. I am basically from Nagpur, and was in Mumbai for mandatory CA internship of 3 years. Always wanting to explore the magnificent city and already having an inclination towards comedy, I initially visited the Canvas Laugh Club to experience live stand up comedy.
When I came across a poster saying ‘Open Mic Night for Amateur Comedians’; I immediately registered. When I told my friends for the first time that I’ll be trying my hand at stand up, they thought that was my first joke ever!
You need not know about how it went, because it didn’t go as I thought it would. I tanked! That very night I realized that having a sense of humour and performing stand up in front of a live audience are two separate things altogether. (Also, I owe some good money to all my friends who were ultimately there only for me. I am extremely grateful to them.) After getting off stage like a pile of dirt and embarrassing myself and my friends, I had almost thought of never attempting it ever again.
BUT, you know what they say about passion, you have to follow it until you get there! I once again gave it a shot at a show called ‘Virgin Pants’ by the popular comedy collective-East India Comedy. I won that contest and it was an instant confidence booster. I cannot thank enough my mentor Sahil Shah for guiding me. I understood that comedy is a serious job and has to be done methodically. Since then I have never looked back, have studied a lot of comedy on the internet and otherwise and now I feel I have got a lot to do with this.
The best part about it
Is that it is happening right now! As I told you this is special to me. From aspiration to creation to recognition is one of the best feelings.
When it comes to challenges, they are two-fold. The first kind of challenge is the challenge related to the core competencies of stand up. When you are holding that mic, you are judged every 20 seconds and making people laugh WITHOUT offending them is one of the greatest challenge every comedian has to face.
The second kind of challenge which I’m facing is with the city I’m residing in. Nagpur, if I may say so, doesn’t have the kind of comedy culture that prevails in other cities. I have been performing at various bars, cafes and other venues in the city and the constraint is that of content. I have to try and come up with new content after every two gigs, since it is more or less the same audience who’ll be there for the gig. Comedians from Mumbai and Gujarat have also performed in Nagpur a few times, which has made the audience mature, before me getting matured as a comedian.
There’s also a third kind of as challenge. Doing stand up is one thing, but explaining what you are actually doing to your family, is the greatest task! The problems that I’m facing with explaining things to parents are the same as a photographer might have faced a few years ago. But so far, my family and my friends have been very supportive, which I think has helped me a lot to keep going forward.
Advice on pursuing Comedy
I think I’m still in the early stages as far as ‘giving advice’ is concerned. But as any established comedian would suggest from his/her own experience, start with open mics, consume a lot of comedy, DO NOT PLAGIARISE, and keep on doing it until it gets better and better…
SENSE OF HUMOUR IS SUCH A POWERFUL WEAPON THAT IF YOU POSSESS IT,
NOBODY MESSES WITH YOU!!
(The above sentence has no reference. I just wanted to use it once :P)
Laughter is the best medicine
Here’s a video to make your day!
About The Other Side
We, at The Other Side, believe life gives us a choice. Always. The choice to break the mundane, humdrum existence. The choice to discover the small joys of life. The choice to be extraordinary.
The Other Side is our attempt to bring forth stories of a few extraordinary people who made the choice of following their passion/ hobby despite all odds. They are people just like you and me. They have similar jobs, similar families and similar lifestyle. Just one thing sets them apart; their love for something beyond the routine. One of them sits up late at night to complete the unfinished poem she’s been writing and another one wakes up before sunrise to make sure he completes the long run he’s been planning to. And there are many more like them.
Have you ever wondered why? What makes them tick? We are here to find those answers. If even a few people reading these stories are inspired enough to find these little joys of life we’ve experienced, we’ll consider it a job well done. And if you are one of The Other Siders already, write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d love to feature you!