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by Sukkum Chemjong Limbu

Laughter is the best medicine. True that! A good belly laugh is the cure for all blues and can actually contribute to your health and wellbeing. As we get more and more integrated to technology, it’s those little posts of humour that bring a ray of happy into a routine day. Kathmandu has also seen an increase in bars, pubs and restaurants offering standup comedy nights which actually are packed to the seams with happy audiences. Here we talk to five stand-up comedians to learn what it takes to be funny.

Aayush Shrestha

Some of Aayush Shrestha’s learning in standup comedy has come from criticism. Prejudiced, racist, supremacist, sexist and other unflattering expressions came his way in his comic career but Aayush learnt to filter opinions early on. Aayush is a Computer Engineer by profession and a comedian by passion. He took a shot at an open mic session in Jhamsikhel and things clicked. He recalls, “Comedy Tuk Tuk was our very first comedy group after my friend and I started writing sitcoms. We met other comics at our event and started this venture to boil jokes and spread it among audiences”.

Aayush is inspired by the curiosity of a child’s mind. He believes that a view through a child’s lens always leads you to discover something new. “Children make me laugh all the time. They do the most unexpected things and say the most unexpected sentences. Having a conversation with a child is the most fun thing that I can do. You never know what’s coming,” he laughs.

What does it take to be funny?
A delicate balance of low self-esteem, overconfidence and honesty. Truth, for the most part, is funny. People usually are dishonest and unfunny.

Himesh Panta

Himesh Panta interest in comedy started in his school days. Himesh was driven by passion and little did he know that one day he would become the winner of Comedy Champion, the first ever comedy reality show in Nepal. “I’ve always wanted to perform and the show gave me a wide network to build upon and this boosted me professionally as well,” he says.

On stage, he is intrigued to see audience responses. In 2018, Himesh officially started a YouTube channel called ‘Comedy Circle’, a platform to revive comedy in Nepal which was raw and new. “Out of many comedians, Kevin Hart and Hari Bansha Acharya are my favourite, but I see them as more of an inspiration,” he shares.

What does it take to be funny?
If someone tells logical jokes with full confidence.

Yozana Magar

Yozana Magar planned to fly back from Kathmandu after her pharmacy license examination, but destiny had other plans for her. A pharmacist student turned comedian and writer, she says, “It was really not what I wanted to become. Things just happened and worked out great for me. I am continuously experimenting with what I find fun. And I keep that ‘explore’ door wide open”. 

Almost four years in the industry, Yozana is addicted. From writing scripts for ads to getting on the stage, she loves the power of her words. Not only has she been able to command a full audience with laughter and attention but has also won the hearts of many suitors. She says, “I have been asked out a lot after I say I do stand-up comedy. That might be because they find it fascinating. But the first reaction of people is, “Oh you’re a comedian? Then tell me a joke.” To which I reply “I don’t perform for free and hand them a ticket to my show”.

Yozana loves getting constructive criticism and says that if no one criticised her work that would mean no one was really paying attention. “What’s art without criticism?” quips the gutsy artiste.

What does it take to be funny?
A lot of shamelessness, overconfidence, and courage. Everyone is funny but not everyone can be stage funny. It takes years of practice and dedication. And sometimes, a glass of beer helps.

Aadarsh Kumar Mishra

Aadarsh Kumar Mishra grew up wanting to become a cricket player, but as things unfolded, he became a comic. Recognised as typical Nepali from his Instagram handle, he is very vocal about social issues using a quick mix of sarcasm and humor.

On receiving hate comments, he says, “Its people’s opinion about your jokes. I have been criticised for my work but I take it in positively”. Aadarsh performs on multiple platforms but is dismayed that his career choice is not as glorified as other professionals. “People pretend to tell me I am doing a great job but they had hoped I would be a doctor, engineer or a job holder instead,” he shares.

What keeps him going is the happiness and laughter he is able to spread. 

What does it take to be funny?
I don’t exactly know what it takes to be funny but being persistent in the job, practice, and regular writing works for me. Misery too makes us funny most of the time.

Alan Jung Thapa

Alan Jung Thapa fell for Daniel Fernandes, an Indian standup comic when he discovered him in class 9. His love led to starting an open mic session with his friends. Alan then was officially brewing jokes on the stage. Comedy was never part of the plan for him, it was writing. But some how he got to where he was meant to be. He explains his onstage emotions, “The stage high, you never get the same feeling anywhere, only the stage can give you that, it’s like an adrenaline rush”.

His humor is tinged with logic and has won him the attention of many comic lovers. He is being pushed to get his own show but he is happy with where he is now and knows that he’ll get to where he must when it is meant to be. Alan believes that work should always have a place for improvement and only takes reviews from critics who know about the field.  

What does it take to be funny?
Exactly what it takes to be batman, an imaginary sad story.

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