Published: 20th December 2018
Riten Pattnaik is all set to serenade the audience with his Sambalpuri stand-up comedy act this week
On December 31, Pattnaik is going to perform in Jatni
In 2016, Riten Pattnaik was a job searcher by day and a meme-maker by night. This was for his Facebook page Rock n LoL, which currently has more than 10,000 likes. And because this Sambalpur guy was in Bengaluru, he tried to soak in the culture by attending stand up comedy shows (and cover them for social media). His job also took him to Mumbai, the hotbed for stand-up comedy in India. "When I started going for these shows, I thought this is something I could do as well. I thought I had the potential to learn the craft," says Pattnaik, who pursued Information Technology from Institute of Technical Education and Research, Bhubaneswar.
Mumbai and it's stand-up comedy circle offered all the support he needed. But Pattnaik was aware of his shortcomings and knew that he needed to work on his language, both Hindi and English. The only way to overcome this was to perform and then some more. And for someone who had stage fear, this was no mean feat. He wanted to perform in Hindi and Odia, particularly Sambalpuri. He used to record his own performance and go through it every time. "I still do that because it is very important to self-analyse your work," says the 25-year-old. He performed at shows as well, like when Chain Jokers, the popular comedy group of Odisha, invited him for a show that was organised on December 31st last year. He believes that he is a work in progress and continues to hone his craft by performing at open mics and other shows. "I still feel that I am yet to find my voice," says Pattnaik who is confident about performing Sambalpuri comedy and is currently focusing on his delivery in Hindi.
As stand-up comedy is still gaining ground in Odisha, Pattnaik makes sure that he tries his hand at whichever opportunity he gets
Pattnaik jokes are mostly observational and his fodder comes from all that happens around him. He finds people of Sambalpur and the Sambalpuri dialect itself 'aggressively funny'. "Even if they abuse you it feels like they are cracking a joke," he says cracking up and laughing while thinking about how he tends to find humour even in his family. "I think it's just me though," he says. He doesn't want to dabble in political comedy yet so he keeps it light. He writes down whatever he finds funny between friends or family, "so that I can dramatise it later," adds Pattnaik who has worked with Viacom18. His favourite stand-up comedian is fellow Odia Biswa Kalyan Rath. "The first proper comedy show that I went to was his," he says with glee. He also likes Abhishek Upmanyu and Sumit Anand for their comedy.
Stand-up comedy is an individual art form so we need to keep exploring ourselves
Riten Pattnaik, Stand-up comedy (Pic: Riten Pattnaik)
All in all, Pattnaik, who works as a Junior Graphics Designer for Rawkey, a Mumbai-based advertising agency, is extremely grateful for all the opportunities he gets. And if you want to end the year with some laughs and Sambalpuri comedy, do catch Pattnaik as he performs on December 29 at Odisha Sanskrutik Samaj, Sambalpur.
For more on him, click on facebook.com/riten.pattnaik