Published: 27th February 2017
Can you believe that Mr Funny bones was heckled for bad jokes?
Comedian Naveen Richard narrates the funny tale that is his life
For Naveen Richard, being funny is synonymous with being himself. Whatever the situation, this guy can bring the house down with his Mr Bean-like facial expressions and his South Indian-accent English. Oh wait! You’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve seen Better Life Foundation, where his character Neil Menon’s bad Hindi would’ve totally cracked you up. And so would the landlady in some his sketches.
Between the sketches, stand-ups and web series, Naveen was pretty busy when we caught up with him for a quick chat. Despite being troubled with a bad cold, Naveen had a lot to share about himself.
Mr Bean’s cousin:
Like most of my generation, I grew up watching Mr Bean. I was so influenced by him that my friends in school would jokingly ask me if I'm his cousin. After a while I got used to it and I would constantly find different ways to make people laugh. My best friend and I were the funniest guys. He was the 'cool' funny one and I was the 'silly' funny one. He works for Google now.
The funniest guys:
I transferred to a boarding school when in grade XI. There, everyone was funny. The only entertainment we had in the hostels was to make fun of each other. That actually sharpened my sense of humour and my comedic skills. It was survival of the funniest and the fittest. You either had to beat someone up or be funny. It was good training for me.
Laughing Out: Naveen on stage
The funny lawyer:
I studied Law for five years at Christ University, Bengaluru. I haven’t written my bar exam yet, but I do have a degree. I started doing stand-ups while in college. By the time I graduated, I was even earning money from these shows. I guess that was the reason my parents were okay with me having a career in comedy.
Of heckling and bad jokes:
There were times when my jokes didn’t work. I was often heckled. This used to get to me, but with time I learnt to stay cool, calm and collected. Once at a New Year’s Eve show, the crowd was drunk and badly wanted to dance. No one was interested in my material. After some time, the men ganged up on me and started throwing chairs. It was really funny to watch.
The YouTube story:
We started the YouTube channel Them Boxer Shorts right after college. I know the other guys from boarding school and we would meet up regularly. The first thing we did was create a mockumentary. Later, we started doing sketches. Now, we’re back to long format videos and that is how Better Life Foundation (BLF) happened.
There is a better life:
We uploaded Better Life Foundation on AIB’s channel for better reach and it worked. All the incidents from that series are real. My character, Neil Menon is a mellow version of me. Also like him, I too speak Hindi badly.