Telling one good joke is easy when you’re among friends, but keeping a critical audience in stitches for a long period of time is hard, as Indian comedian Kanan Gill well knows.
The popular Youtuber began making a name for himself with his video series “Pretentious Movie Reviews”. In each one, he and fellow comedian Biswa Kalyan Rath would make funny remarks and asides on a chosen Bollywood movie.
Gill will be performing in Hong Kong next Sunday. He spoke to Young Post by phone about his upcoming performance in the 852, his background as a software engineer (no, really), and the rise of his comedic career.
Gill said that he’s really looking forward to performing in the city. Despite being something of a frequent flier, this will be the first time he’s ever been here, and he is super excited about it.
“I’ve heard good things,” he said, which is why he picked Hong Kong to be his first foreign performance of 2018 – and making the most of its. Gill plans on being a tourist in the city for at least a few days, either before or after his show. “I want to go and see the sights.”
Gill is going to cover a range of topics during his stand-up show, including musings on population numbers, things that happened at school, and things that happened in his childhood, as they’re all things that Hongkongers will identify with.
Gill has always liked making people smile. At university, he became the lead singer in a band, and discovered that some of the moments he most relished were those between singing one song and the next – because he could joke with and talk to the audience. People would come up to him after the gigs and tell him he should go into stand-up.
“I started thinking that I might have a bit of a gift for [stand-up],” he laughed, although it wasn’t until years later that he would turn it into a career.
After graduating, he worked as a software engineer. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t where his heart lay. “I was writing software during the day, and doing stand-up at night.”
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Three years into his job, Gill decided to turn his focus fully on stand-up comedy – and he’s never once looked back.
With that being said, the road to success has not always been a smooth one.
Getting the audience to laugh wasn’t the hard part – it was finding ways to keep that momentum going.
“I had to [make sure I was able to] write better jokes, and put on high quality shows – each which couldn’t be the same as the one before it,” he said. Sometimes that’s been hard, but sometimes, the material has written itself, especially when it’s based on what Gill observes while people-watching.
Wannabe comedians should take inspiration from all aspects of life, not just explicitly funny situations, Gill said. To be successful in the industry, he added that it is important to be able to consider a perspective different from your own, and be objective with your humour. How you see the world – a your ability to see different opinions – affects whether you can write a good stand-up comedy script, Gill said.
So what’s next for the comedian after his Hong Kong show? Gill said he wants to produce more online content this year so that people who can’t see his shows live can still see his stuff. But travel-loving Gill said: “I want to travel to as many countries as I can.” he added. “And do more stand-up shows.” Maybe those online videos can wait a while.