Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Anuvab Pal: Page 2 of 2

6. What do your parents/children (delete as applicable) think of your job?

My father once came to a show. He's a shipping man and an Indian father. Throughout the show, he was busy calculating what the room revenue might possibly have been. I had a good night that night. And asked him what he thought. His answer -  "700 rupees profit, 120 people - is that it?" 

7. What’s the worst thing about being a comedian?

 Thinking of jokes as currency, rather than just being funny. Also, flights.

8. I think you are very good at what you do (that’s why I’m asking these questions). What do you think of you?

 I feel I'm in the middle of a scam about to be discovered. Words coming out a human mouth can't be a job. Neurosurgery, building a railway station - that's a job. What I do is a conversation. Anyone can do it. 


9. How much do you earn and how much would you like to earn?


The way I think about a freelance career or what I've come to realize is that it is a mix of  greed, uncertainty, hoarding and opportunity. Meaning one never knows whether the phone will ring tomorrow so one keeps saying yes to things, getting greedy. Not doing the thing one quit the day job to do in the first place. Actually no one thinks like that. Maybe I do, I don't know.  It's not so much the amount but if you've ever had a day job and switch to comedy, it would be lovely if there was a place one went and did shows between 9am and 5pm and got paid every month with the weekends off. How I live now is a mix of euphoria, penury and excess. With no insight into the next week. Which is lovely if one has a nice inheritance. And likes roller coasters. 

10. How important is luck in terms of career success – have you had lucky breaks?


It's a great question. I think things happen and later one thinks oh that happened. And then a bunch of people say, 'That thing back then that happened, was luck'. The Comedy Store opened in Mumbai in 2009 and I went to do a small article on them for a newspaper. I was a screenwriter then, having written a couple of comedies. Don Ward, the owner, said he'd give me an interview only if I did 3 minutes of 'humour'. I didn't have any jokes, except maybe a chat between the first British person who landed in India in 1750 and an Indian villager, and what they might have said to each other. Ten years on, I've done this for a living for 10 years. Looking back, it was luck that he came there. That he opened the place. That I went there.

11. Alan Davies has said that comedians fall into two categories - golfers and self-harmers. The former just get on with life, the latter are tortured artists. Which are you – or do you think you fit into a third category? 


I've come from another country to do comedy in Britain. 91 units of my Indian currency is equal to one unit of British. I wish I could be the latter but I think I'm the former. Also, the work itself is so torturous that off stage if one tormented oneself further, it seems like a bit much.  

12. Who is your favourite person ever and why – not including family or friends or other comedians?


I saw a homeless person once in Mumbai where I live. I was texting upset that I'd lost a gig because of a date clash and walking in a tense way, looking at my phone. He was suddenly in front of me, semi-nude, lying on the pavement, reading a pirated copy of the Steve Jobs biography, without a care in the world. He looked at me and said in Hindi, 'It's not worth it. Whatever you're after'.  Went back to his book. I never saw him again.  

13. Do you keep your drawers tidy and if not why not? (please think long and hard about this question, it's to settle an argument with my girlfriend. The future of our relationship could depend on your response).


I do not because my cupboard does not have drawers. However everything is arranged in symmetry as if there were drawers. Which there aren't. It could be because my wife's cupboard has drawers and I wanted to show her I could do what she could, without the necessary infrastructure.


Anuvab Pal is at the Pleasance Courtyard from August 1 - 26. Buy tickets here,






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