Stand-up comedian Shankar Chugani talks about his journey to the finale of Comicstaan
If there’s one thing that every comic swears by, it is taking part in every open-mic session ahead of finalising a new set of jokes. But with just a week of writing prep and four minutes of delivery time, Shankar Chugani, a finalist on Amazon Prime’s original series Comicstaan admits that things did get more than a little stressful. “I wasn’t used to writing something that would be filmed in a week. A lot of ideas were thrown out the window, sometimes 24 hours before the taping,” begins Shankar.
Presented in a reality show format where the participants are given a week to master a new genre of comedy, each episode was mentored by a member from a seven-member judges’ panel. “The mentors would share their opinion and understanding of the genre. We would talk and bounce ideas. My takeaway was becoming aware that there is more than one way to look at a topic.” Part of the Amazon’s flagship original that broke the record of becoming the most viewed offering on the platform, the Coonoor-based comedian emerged a favourite with the second episode of the show. But it was his set drawing parallels between Indian culture and hip-hop in the fourth episode titled Everyday Things mentored by Sapan Verma that won him standing applause, and cemented the 29-year-old as a contender for the finale. “It’s hard to portray all that you have in four minutes. My style involves keeping the energy up by drawing from the crowd and keep them on the edge with surprises,” he shares. Having moved to Bengaluru when he was 18, Shankar tells us that he’s got the best of both worlds. “Being from a city that has a strong open-mic scene and multiple open-mics every day is a great advantage. Other than
that there are not many stand-up comedians from Coonoor, so that’s good too.”
Considering the Alternative Comedy episode that was mentored by Kenny Sebastian as his toughest challenge yet, Shankar first began working on a set that involved ventriloquism. “I finally had to drop it a day before taping because I felt it wasn’t working,” shares Shankar about the only time he seemed out of his element on stage. Making it into the finals as the last contestant among the top five, Shankar Chugani will be part of Comicstaan’s finale that airs today on Amazon Prime Video.