Published: 28th August 2017
Wondering why comedian Daniel Fernandes is everybody's favourite? Here are some hints!
This Goan, who lives in Mumbai, wears many hats — from stand up to his podcast, his well-researched content has never failed to win people over
He can make the darkest things sound funny without offending anyone. Perhaps that's what they call 'mastering the art of comedy'. By stand-up comedy, Daniel Fernandes means making people laugh every 30 seconds and it's not easy, according to him.
He, who has been on stage all his life, says that stand-up is one of the scariest things that he has ever done. But that has never come in his way because of the high he gets when he makes people laugh. To expand his horizons, he has ventured into production and now, podcast too. We caught up with Daniel who has big plans for Indian comedy and we are all ears.
Say what: Daniel Fernandes is known for his well-researched stands ups on topics like rape, student suicide
You started with stand-up comedy. You've done a lot more after that. How's the roller coaster ride?
It has been really good. It was necessary for us to stand out. But whenever you change your stream, there is a risk of losing a part of your audience. Thankfully, that hasn't happened to me. But getting on stage and making the audience laugh gives me a high.
What about the podcast show that you started?
I have finished one season of my podcast — You statretd it. There are two other guests with me and we discuss what people have said about us on the internet and it becomes a very real space. I think podcasts have a great future in India. Producing a stand-up video might take time, but podcasts take lesser time, and I have been producing a show every week. It is exciting to be a part of the podcast revolution that India is going to witness soon.
You address several issues in your sketches. Is this intentional?
It is actually hard to be funny. At first, you will aim to make anything funny. After a while, you will choose what to be funny about. The internet is already flooding with cracks on relationships, parents and the like. So, I wanted to pick something else. I realised that people have opinions about the issues I address. I find myself in a space that I enjoy.
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You have made political remarks too. Any threats?
Not really. My writing is very layered. There is some truth to it. A lot of people are doing this. Plus, to attack my jokes, they need to understand them first. Moreover, comedians are the only people without any agenda. Our only job is to call out bullshit.
What keeps you going?
When you look at it in terms of an art form, there is no censorship and no restrictions. I think the whole process is awesome. The big moment in every comedian's career is when they hear that first bout of laughter from the audience. That keeps you hooked.
What advice would you give this generation?
There has never been a better time to pursue your passion as your career. I would not ask you to be stupid. Get education out of the way first. Then start doing what you like and somewhere along the way you will know how to make money out of your passion. There is always someone who will pay for creativity. Bear the challenges, so that you can break it down and fight back.
Vision up: Daniel believes it is exciting to be a part of the podcast revolution that India is going to witness soon.
What makes you laugh?
I don't get to enjoy performances as you would. Halfway through, I start to think, "I would have done this." But we constantly consume comedy and some shows do justice. Silicon Valley and Modern Family, I think, are well-presented shows.
How are you in person?
I stop being funny after a performance. Why would I be funny all the time? People ask me why I'm not funny off stage. I tell them that it's because I am off stage. I would rather go out for a quiet dinner. But there are people who are always funny.
Your gigs are always well-researched. What is the process that you follow?
Comedians are always researching. After six years of performing, I don't think it is even a conscious effort anymore. We have become sponges, soaking in whatever happens around us. Apart from that, I enjoy having discussions with people.
And who are these people?
Friends, family or on Twitter — as long as they have a decent argument. The further away from comedy you are, the better. It is important to get non-comedian views.