[Originally Published In The Banyan Trees, here]
When I was about 6 years old, I remember being the funniest person in all of Standard II. I just was, simply because of the fact that I had no sense of balance. Let’s get real here – when you’re that age, falling on your face is pretty much the funniest thing ever and therefore, having been gifted the ability to fall on your face multiple times like I had instantly made me 6 year old Russell Peters.
I found my balance that year, but thanks to a severe affliction of foot in the mouth disease, I managed to hold on to my position in the elementary school comic scene (although it is pertinent to note that I did face the occasional threat from II “B” Roshan who couldn’t hold his glasses in place. Amateurs). A few years later, cruel, cruel puberty happened, which meant that apart from the occasional bad joke, I also cracked mirrors.
Basically, high school for me was like one of those terrible tragedy-dramas that the audience finds hilarious. When I look back, I am fairly confident that 5 years from now, when people get together for alumni meets, I will be “that person” of all the “you remember when that person did this and that hilarious thing happened?” stories. Hell, I have a blog dedicated to all those stories (lest they forget) and it even includes some choice experiences which happened during my internship. It’s quite a neat compilation really, from trying to get my first crush to notice me by staring the crap out of him, to valiantly speaking terrible Hindi with a client in Mumbai in the pursuit of learning the language and then having him tell me he was actually Tamil, to getting into trouble with miscellaneous auto drivers, I’ve done it all.
That’s where life got interesting. People started liking what I was writing, never mind that I was writing the blog as a “Do Not Repeat These Mistakes Again” kind of journal. It was great at the start, but then as time progressed, there was pressure. People who had been reading my blog for a while decided that it was about time that I actually grew up, whereas the newer ones wanted more of what I had previously written (“Hahaha, that episode with the Autorickshaw was great! You should try that with a conductor sometime…and blog about it!”).
What people don’t get is that I belong to the unintentional humour department. I don’t particularly enjoy that my toes have a semi permanent residence in my mouth, yet I do know that other people do, and so I share it. Apparently, if you have to be funny these days, it’s not as simple as offering your own embarrassment to make other people laugh.
Maybe modern humour is complicated, simply because there are so many kinds; Especially with the internet, everyone is humourous in every manner, which leads to great expectations. Point being, you’re not going to be thought of as anyone remotely funny unless you have achieved that perfect mix of black comedy interlaced with subtle wit, suitably juxtaposed by sarcasm bordering on parody, but not a farce.
I miss the times when all I had to do to make people laugh was to fall on my face.