Stand-Up Comic’s Advice to Trump for India: ‘Please Don’t Visit’

“My only advice to Trump if he plans to come to India, is that he should never come to India,” says Rajiv Satyal. 

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Does humour have to be offensive to be funny? The Quint posed this question to two stand-up comedians, Rajiv Satyal of ‘I Am Indian’ fame and Maheep Singh, at the American Center in New Delhi.

“Humour is inherently offensive,” said Singh when we spoke to him at the American Center’s event ‘Cultural Connections Through Humour’.

“If you’re not pointing out something negative about some person, or event, or situation, it’s not going to be funny,” says Satyal.

I’ll give you an example – If I’m at my wedding and everything goes off smooth and happy, it’s not going to be funny. But if my horse takes me and dumps me in a lake, that will be funny.

For Singh, being a stand-up comedian is the same as taking up any other profession. “Sometimes the jokes come to me when I’m taking a shower. So I always laugh at my jokes in the privacy of my bathroom,” says Singh. On the contrary, Satyal says he enjoys laughing at his own jokes everywhere.

How different is to perform in India and in the US?

“It’s very easy for me to make Americans laugh, but when I am traveling abroad, you have to tweak your act,” says Satyal. He also believes that being a stand-up comedian in India is comparatively difficult because of the language differences and because audiences and cultures change from state-to-state.

(from left) Maheep Singh and Rajiv Satyal, share the stage at American Center. 
(from left) Maheep Singh and Rajiv Satyal, share the stage at American Center. 
(Photo: TheQuint)

We also got the two to comment on how different it is to live in Los Angeles versus New Delhi. Singh feels that Delhi is one city which gives you the flavour of the entire country – and if one can brave Delhi, they can live anywhere in the world. For Rajiv, LA is always full of surprises and a “fun” place to be, but he hates the city for the bad traffic (by American standards) – but it’s still nothing compared to Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore, he says.

Satyal is a Los Angeles-based comedian, host, and speaker. Formerly an engineer, Satyal had a calling for comedy since childhood. He was the ‘funny guy’ in his group since the age of nine and later decided he wanted to make it as a stand-up comic.

Singh, on the other hand, is a writer who ‘moonlights as a stand-up comedian’. A lot of his comedy is based on his experiences from his day-to-day life. The two were talking at an event at Delhi’s American Center.

(The Quint, in association with BitGiving, has launched a crowdfunding campaign for an 8-month-old who was raped in Delhi on 28 January 2018. The baby girl, who we will refer to as 'Chhutki', was allegedly raped by her 28-year-old cousin when her parents were away. She has been discharged from AIIMS hospital after undergoing three surgeries, but needs more medical treatment in order to heal completely. Her parents hail from a low-income group and have stopped going to work so that they can take care of the baby. You can help cover Chhutki's medical expenses and secure her future. Every little bit counts. Click here to donate.)

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