Interview: Rohan Joshi talks about his set, writing process and mental health
Mumbaikars, Rohan Joshi is performing a one-hour set tonight where he will be talking about aging, education system alongside a bunch of other topics including cannabis. Ahead of the performance, we had a little chat with the comedian about his writing process, the present stand-up comedy scene in India and if he plans to go back to acting anytime soon. Excerpts:
Q: Three topics you will be covering in your set tonight?
Aging, fighting over text, cannabis
Q: How much time does it take to write and polish a new set? Please take us through your process. Also, how much time did you spend on this set?
This took me almost a year of focused writing and touring but honestly, there are some bits here upon which I’ve been working on for years. The process is simple, you write a set and then perform it, some bits work and some don’t. And, based on that, you rewrite. And, then you perform it again and this cycle continues until you get it right.
Q: How do you see the present stand-up comedy scene in India? What’s the biggest challenge of being a comedian today?
There are challenges in terms of the various factors we have against any real freedom of speech in India but I think the scene is poised for very exciting things as more people and more diverse voices have started speaking their truth.
Q: You started out as a journalist. Does it play any role in your acts or influence it in any way?Only in the sense that I fact check my jokes if they are based on reality
Q: You often engage with people on social media about mental health. When was the first time you accepted that there is an issue with your mental health and it needs to be addressed? How long did you sit down on this thought before addressing it finally?
I first thought about it when I was in engineering college. It took me about ten years to fully comprehend what this was because this was pre-Internet time (mostly), there was no real access to information while growing up.
Q: AIB was one of the biggest players in the world of comedy as far as India is concerned. Do you guys plan to reunite with something?
AIB is very much around. We’re still working on a bunch of stuff so the next few years look exciting
Q: Lastly, what’s next? Also, any plans of going back to acting?
Not in the near future! There are a lot of other things I’d like to do first... like, write!
1. Describe yourself in three adjectives: Sleepy, curious, anxious
2. Favourite cuisine: Indian or Japanese
3. Favourite restaurant: Bombay Canteen
4. Best place to perform (auditorium/city): Bangalore
5. A comedian you simply adore/envy: John Mulaney
6. I wish I could: Dance
7. A piece of advice that shaped you: find a career that lets you see the world on someone else’s money
8. A book/film one must read/watch: Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens Davidowitz
9. A series you recently binge-watched: BoJack Horseman
10. Dream project: The Avengers
Rohan Joshi is performing tonight at Mitron, Peninsula Grand Hotel for Black Dog Easy Evenings. The performance begins at 8 pm.