Daniel Fernandes is having the last laugh

Mumbai-based stand-up comedian Daniel Fernandes is set to present his newest show to the Chennai audience
Daniel Fernandes
Daniel Fernandes

Like any other stand-up comedian who has made a name for themselves through this performance art form, Daniel Fernandes is not new to trolling. Two years ago, after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and the controversies around his death that followed, Daniel was trolled for a stand-up video about the late actor. “I got hate and threats from 38,000 people for a week and then it stopped,” Daniel says, adding, “I talk about it in my special Alive & Vaccinated.”

None of his shows have been cancelled though and that’s a good sign. Daniel will be in Chennai soon with his show I’m Only Going to Say This Once.

What can we expect from your performance here in Chennai?
I recently wrapped up a two-year tour with my previous special Alive & Vaccinated which is now streaming on my YouTube channel. As a writer, I am on a reset mode, so, I’m now on tour in India with a different format. I’m doing a show called I’m Only Going to Say This Once where I make up an entire set by interacting with the audience. So, Chennai can expect to see a comedy set that’s pretty wild and unpredictable.

What is your genre of comedy and why did you choose it?
I’ve been told that my comedy is dark, intelligent and sometimes naughty. I didn’t necessarily choose for it to be this way. This is just who I am.

Stand-up comedians get trolled and embroiled in controversies all the time… from Vir Das and Munavar Faruqui… and international names like Hasan Minhaj. Do you think it is because 
stand-up comedians speak the truth which is hard to digest?

It’s because people often confuse having a sense of humour with the ability to laugh. Also, we’re living through a period of brittle sentiments and unwarranted entitlement, hence all the supposed controversies. Once the dust of the outrage settles, it is these very comedians who are targeted that are making some serious bank, so, I guess they’re having the proverbial last laugh. 

Stand-up comedy is evolving but is still not looked at as a mainstream career. When did you decide to be one and why?
It is hard to call any performance art a mainstream career simply because of how much time and effort it takes to get anywhere close to good before you can make some serious money. There are no guarantees in this business and not everybody makes it, so, I don’t think it will ever be a mainstream career option for people. Of course, everyone is welcome to try.Why did I decide to do it? Well, money and freedom!

Where do you think stand-up comedy is headed to in the next 5-10 years, in India?
I don’t think it would be right for me to comment on people’s electoral choices (laughs)

There are too many stand-up comedians these days… every other person wants to be one. Why do you think they do?
Stand-up comedy is a very alluring art form. When done right, it feels like a superpower. Maybe, people want to see if they also have it in them to fly. To anyone who’s curious, I always say, ‘Go for it!’ Even if it never ends up becoming a full time career, you’ve at least managed to conquer one of the biggest fears on the planet.

Rs 499. March 4, 8 pm.
At Medai, The Stage, Alwarpet.


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