For what it’s worth, putting a smile on the faces of strangers is always a pleasant experience. And if you’re doing it for a living, then there’s nothing like it! And trust Deep Chhabria to do this job well and how! The hairy, funny and optimistically weird Sindhi is the brand new kid on the block and has people in splits with his brand of realistic and relatable comedy. Elaborating further, Deep says, “My comedy stems from everyday events that everyone faces as an Indian. Every time something astonishes me or I notice a certain pattern in mundane things I note it down and try to assess if it’s something everyone has experienced. Time is a very subjective thing when it comes to a set.”
Speaking of where and how it all began, Deep goes on to explain, “Stand up struck a chord long before I even got on stage. I used to go to the Comedy Store to catch shows quite often. Then one day, Ashish Shakya from AIB who used to teach creative writing in KC College, which is where I studied, asked if anyone was inclined towards the art. So, I immediately raised my hand and he helped me through my first set and once you’re up there, the applauses are enough to keep you going.”
If you thought that was all there is to him, then well, you should also know that the twenty-something also runs a comedy group called ‘Dojob’ (essentially written as “dojob”), a doodle he learned to draw when he was 10. “I just thought naming the company after dojob as it would be quite abstract and personal. Also, it would save the logo making charges”, jokes Deep. What if stand up didn’t work out? “I’d work in my pappa’s shop. He has a garment business and I would inherit the metres of cloth, only to become a silk lord. Just kidding! I’d live off my parent’s money. I try to show people my real self but I genuinely feel that I have a long way to go with that. I like being animated on stage, so somewhere on the path of exaggerating I guess I don’t completely do justice to putting my real self out there.”
Like any other artist, Deep too, draws a leaf out of his peers’ books and is creatively inspired by their work. “When I started, I used to idolise Tanmay Bhatt, simply for the way he held a show together and killed it each time he went on stage. Now, I guess my favourite and most relatable comedian is Kenny Sebastian. I’ve shared the stage just twice with him, but when he’s on the line-up you don’t need to worry about the show going well or not. I think its pure genius how he can take an instance, exaggerate to a point where it’s not overselling it and make it everyone’s story. Also, he’s a very good person, I think that’s what counts the most”, gushes Deep.
If that wasn’t enough, Deep was a copywriter at advertising giant Grey Worldwide for 18 months and is now doing a course in the same at Miami Ad School in Mumbai. He plans to go to the States and study advertising and comedy in further detail. “The best part about being in these two professions is that both of them can do with back-ups. Also, they both are writing based. All you need to do is crack your idea or premise and then you know where to go from there. Though, honestly taglines come to me easier than punchlines”, quips Mr. Chhabria.
As dynamic as Deep comes across, there is a profound maturity that you’d find in his conversations; and just when the thought crosses my mind, he says, “I’ve always believed in letting people live the way they want and which is why after my last day on earth if I’m ever quoted in front of the background of a mountain or river like Rumi, I want my quote to read ‘Sabka apna apna hota hain’.” And as I reel from the intensity of his words, Deep is sweet enough to also let us in on every comedian’s worst kept secret. “My biggest nightmare has to be forgetting my jokes on stage. I never step on without rehearsing my punch lines and set list. People not laughing becomes something you get comfortable with, but standing there blank juggling between trying to make up for the awkwardness and trying to remember the joke is the worst. Also, it’s really unprofessional and unfair to the crowd. They paid to watch you, the least you can do is deliver your entire joke.” We agree!