Fresh Jokes, Familiar Stage: Naveen Richard gets candid with us ahead of his stand-up special in Chennai

 Naveen Richard talks arranged marriage, Instagram and why he enjoys introducing new material to his Chennai audience
In frame: Naveen Richard
In frame: Naveen Richard

While Comedian Naveen Richard’s name is not new to Chennaiites, we’re sure that his upcoming shows in the city are sure to introduce his comparatively different self. As Naveen joins Indulge for a chat from his car, driving around a green area near his house in Kerala, while also sometimes sitting idler, we learn of this unique stand-up show that is bringing out some interesting themes and topics ranging from marriage, ‘some stuff close to heart’ like ‘what is the intention behind doing comedy’, the ‘shallowness’ of Instagram and more. This latest standup special is titled Baath Karo Mere Saath (Mostly English Jokes) and after doing a show abroad, Naveen is all geared up to present his new set in India, by kicking it off with the shows next week in the city.

Also read: Chirag Panjwani: From anecdotes to amusements, one joke at a time 

Talking about the reception of the show prior to this, Naveen tells us what audiences relate to the most. “Out of the whole special, the jokes I do about arranged marriage, or how when we reach our 30s, our idealism goes away for the one we choose — are the ones that people relate to the most,” he says. He also notes, “ I think that’s my new target age group. When I started doing comedy, I could tell I was appealing to right out-of-college population while now it’s appealing more to people around 25 to 30.” We also asked Naveen about the reason for the title being named in Hindi, for a show in Chennai. “So, in Dubai, I called the special Bath Karo Mere Saath (Only English Jokes), which I thought was funny because the title’s Hindi and we’re also mentioning ‘Only English Jokes’,” shares Naveen, adding, “I then realised that there’s a good 15 minutes of me talking about incidents where I speak bad Hindi. So this show is for people like that — who just about speak Hindi,” he says.

We also learn from Naveen why he loves introducing newer material to Chennai first. “I do like starting off in Chennai. The two places I find most receptive to my comedy are Chennai and Bengaluru. You need a little encouragement with your jokes. Hence you want a good, forgiving, yet intelligent audience,” he says. He also highlights how growing up in this ‘sandwich’ of Chennai, Bengaluru and the state of Kerala influenced him. “I think there’s a unique accent, style and tone of comedy that comes out. So when we break out into a voice or character or approach a punchline, we inherently go back to familiar South Indian words and sounds,” he explains. He further describes these ‘voices’ as crutches. Naveen goes on to present another observation.”When I do that in Mumbai, I guess they’re laughing at the accent and character, but in Bengaluru and Chennai, they’re laughing along with the accent.”

Also read: ‘If I fail, I have Plan B,’ says stand-up comedian Chirag Panjwani

Get to know Naveen What are your hobbies?
I like farming, driving, and listening to podcasts, and some birdwatching. I also love walking my dog a lot.

Which movie have you watched recently or want to watch?
I want to watch Sound of Freedom.

What is on your playlist right now?
I  have been listening to this song by Jim Reeves called I Love You Because.

Rs. 799. September 22, 23 & 27.
At Medai — The Stage, Alwarpet.

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