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Adnan Nalwala: Everyone loves a boss with a sense of humour! | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

Businessman by day and stand-up comedian at night, Adnan Nalwala’s life is anything but monotonous. The multi-faceted guy has performed in a number of countries and is set to perform in one of his favourite places, Mumbai. The Dubai-based comedian tells After Hrs about his passion for comedy and wearing multiple hats...

Were you always the ‘funny guy’ in your school and college days? 

Ever since my childhood days, I would draw sketches and create monologues. The first time I ever got an opportunity to display my talent was in the third grade. I was called into another class by a teacher, to perform a 35-minute session of impersonating all the teachers in school. I remember vividly, the whole class was in splits. In school, I received a couple of awards for my acting skills. Also, once I was awarded the title of Mr Humorous by the 11th graders! As time passed by, I performed at various shows and different gigs. Walking on the ropes of improv comedy, I eventually entered the stand-up comedy space. I have to say, the humour gene was passed down to me from my parents. My father has an amazing sense of humour, while my mother is a genius in impersonation skills.

How did a corporate guy like you discover stand-up? 

After I finished my MBA, I was visiting Mumbai and my brother along with my friends egged me to get on stage and repeat some funny lines I had said to them. It was my first one, at Jazz by The Bay in Mumbai in 2009. I was performing in front of a crowd that had come to watch musicians and so, for the crowd to accept me was a big winner. Two things happened. First, one of the guys in the front row nearly fell of his chair laughing, and second, was when after I finished my set, one individual from the audience approached me asking ‘when is your next gig? I will bring my friends’. That moment right there, really made me believe in comedy. There was no looking back from there. I started doing stand-up comedy nearly a decade ago because of my passion.

There is obviously a lot of time and energy spent on coming up with a set for a show. How and where do you find the time to do that?

Writing good jokes is one of the hardest things to do. I am not saying this because I am a comedian, but people tend to be a lot more critical of you when you say I have something funny to say. You need to engage them right away. Unlike a musician who does not need acknowledgement on stage, a comedian will ‘die’ on stage if he doesn’t hear laughter. I have immense respect for anyone who even grabs a mic and thinks about getting on stage to make people laugh. For every minute on stage, a comedian puts in, on an average, 10 hours of work which includes research, writing and rehearsing. I jog a lot and I think about my jokes and sets while I am jogging, which helps me retain my set. I also believe a good sense of humour helps in many ways. You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian to appreciate humour. As a businessman, I have seen most people in the corporate world are high-strung, but when you bring in a joke, it lightens up the mood and helps breaks the ice. Also, it helps when things go wrong. It is impossible for everyone to deliver and if your senior management is going through a tough time, cracking a few jokes lifts the spirit. The most important reason to have a good sense of humour is that it helps in retaining talent in your company. Everyone looks up to a boss who is smart, but they tend to love you if you have a sense of humour.

What have you got planned for your next show here on the 25? 

I plan to talk about some things that are going in the world, SpaceX and Tesla, movies that are creating riots and just in general, life of a businessman in the middle east who is facing crises. I also attended Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit in Oman and the speech delivered and the audience that attended made it feel like it was a rock concert. My takes would also be on that.

Fav Indian stand-ups

My favourite Indian stand-up comedian has to be Vir Das. Some of the other Indian comedians that I really enjoy watching in the circuit are Atul Khatri, Sorabh Pant, Jeeveshu Aluwalia, Papa CJ, Nitin Mirani, and Vipul Goyal.

Fav international stand-up acts 



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