Known for his splendid comic style, Jeeveshu Ahluwalia is quite a popular name in the Delhi comedy business.The chucklesome comedian is popularly known as the “Salman Khan of the Fat World” and can effortlessly blow the audience's mind with his spontaneous one liners.The winner of Radio Mirchi Comedy Ka King 2014, he is a super cool comic, whose humour makes you forget all your worries in life for a moment. He has appeared in many episodes of The Rising Stars of Comedy on NDTV Prime and mainly performs stand up acts around the world. Featured in one of the episode of Gangs of Haseepur on Zee TV, Jeeveshu can be spotted in various TV Commercials including Makemytrip, Grofers, Philips and many more.The journey of this cute, funny Punjabi guy seems pretty ordinary like most us; where dreams are shattered and passion gets buried under lots and lots of responsibilities. What makes him different is, the courage he puts together to follow his dreams and make it happen. Let’s have a quick chat with the funnyman who is gaining popularity not only in India but in many foreign countries, too.
You were working as a director with Tele Performance earlier, so why did you decide to leave such lucrative job?
I would say I was living a routine life. But, I was not happy! Yes! I was earning lot of money, had a society-friendly designation and was travelling in business class but life was just passing by. Moreover, none of us aspire to be that call center guy or whatever job we end up into and I guess we only realise when we find something better. So, when I got my first break, I was thrilled and excited and apparently I knew that, this is it! Of course, to leave all the comforts of life was not easy. Especially, when we are living in a society where nobody supports passion. But I took it as a challenge and I am glad that my mother supported me while others were busy ridiculing my decision.
So, how did you get into comedy? How was the progression into comedy like?
Back in those days, I often used to entertain my friends during get-togethers and house parties. In one such house party, a woman named Ela Ghose noticed me and introduced me to her cousin Kunal Rao, who is the co-founder of East India Comedy based out of Mumbai. He then spoke to Amit Tandon (another great standup comedian) who had a restaurant with the name of Mind Café back then, and that's where I got my first 2-minute spot. That’s how it all started.
We also found out that your skits are many times directed to your mother. Where does your mother fit in as far as your comedy is concerned?
That is just one aspect of my comedy. But I think to begin with; I started looking out for funny things around me. I started with self-depicting humour, and then I moved to my mother, then to friends, then to office. So I shared the real life incidents adding a pinch of salt to it and made that humorous. But yeah, largely it was influenced by my mother.
As a standup comic, can you talk about the stereotype associated with people in India, especially Punjabis? What according to you might have sparked something like this?
Stereotype is obviously based on somebody’s observations; however that’s just a generalised view. And when we talk about comedy, it is exaggeration after all. So, when I talk about Punjabis, I am just generalising it by adding a touch of humour to it. That doesn’t mean all Punjabis are like that.
Could you tell us a little about your style, please - like themes and ideas you like to work on?
I like to connect with my audience, so I pick funny incidents from everyday conversations and from people around me.
There has been a sudden surge of interest in standup comedy. What according to you is the contribution factor to something like this?
People are getting aware of this new art form. I feel YouTube videos are one of the major reasons.
Do you think standup comedy in India is evolving?
Standup comedy in India is certainly evolving. Earlier it was limited to Johnny Lever, Raju Srivastav, and many such other comedians, but now people are becoming more aware of its wider scope. Comics like Papa CJ, Vir Das and others have taken standup comedy to a different level and it’s definitely getting better and better.
The challenges you faced (and still face) in this field?
The freedom of speech. As a comedian we tend to see things in a funny way. But unfortunately, we end up putting so much of filter to the actual comic scene.
It's a fact, artists in the indie music scene don't get paid, and promoters rip them of their money and much more. Does this happen in your area, too? Your views please?
No. We make a lot of money (laughs). There are not many standup comedians as yet, so there is lot of work for everyone. It’s like survival of the fittest. Whoever is able to leave a mark on the public’s heart gets to survive. So, they do well and earn well, too.
We see that you are marked with interesting tattoos. How did the fad for the ink start? A little back story on what each of them mean? How many of them do you have?
I have got lot of body to cover (laughs), so, I have around 22 of them. The love for tattoos started with the fact that I always wanted it to resemble some part or the other of my life at that point of time. While I was getting divorced I got a Japanese fish done called Koi, which nobody eats as the fish is believed to be a sign of good luck. I got it done on my shoulder with its one eye open as I thought my luck would turn as the fish would turn. Then I have a mic on my left arm as I usually hold the mic on my left arm. So all my tattoos always had the significance of what I was doing at that point of time. After all one has to look at it for the rest of the life so it should always have some significance with the fond memories. I am planning to get inked again, which would be in remembrance of my dog that I lost a month ago. He was with me from the last 14 years and was very much a part of my life. I want to get some memory of him on my body so that I can walk with him forever.
A comedian, be it Indian or International, you adore. Why?
Honestly, I don’t watch a lot of videos on YouTube as it kind of impacts my mind and I do not want my jokes to get inspired by others. However, I am a huge fan of Jerry Seinfeld (American comedian). Many of the Indian comedians like Papa CJ, Vir Das, Amit Tandon, Daniel Fernandes, Rajneesh Kapoor, are very good. I think they are doing a great job and I love performing with them and watching them.
Tanmay Bhat was in the news recently. What are your views on his Snapchat video. Your comments, please?
I have seen that video and honestly the video was very funny. It might not be liked by everyone but I think we can simply ignore something if we don’t like it. If seriousness is concerned then there are many serious subjects to think about. Women are getting raped, people are getting murdered, people don’t have water to use and all we are doing is getting worried about a snapchat video? It’s just a video so deal with it. There are so many movies I hate and many people I dislike but I can’t do much about it. So, I have to deal with it and move on.
Any proud moment that you remember from your shows.
Oh! It’s hard to talk about one such moment. There are so many actually. So, a couple came down from America with a thought to call off their marriage as things were not going fine between them. After the show the couple approached me and said, “After ages we could laugh together and these were the best 30 minutes of our life. Looks like things can work out between us”. That was just an emotional moment and was a matter of pride for me, that I could make such a huge difference in somebody’s life.
Are you happy with the success so far?
I am happy that I get up every day and follow my dreams and I do what I love to do. I mean how many people in the world get to do what they really want to? Success is very much secondary but I am sure it is following and would continue to follow.
Anything new that you are working on at the moment?
I am doing lots of standup shows. I travel 20 days in a month. So yeah, I have few interesting projects to work on. I have also done few ads (around 13) and now I am waiting for them to get released soon.
You have already made your Bollywood debut with Ranbir and Deepika in Tamasha, so any future plans in Bollywood?
As far as acting is concerned, I would like to do more films and ads as it comes. But the main love would always be comedy.
Any message for your fans?
Please go and watch a lot of comedy shows. I know people prefer going to movies, pubs or plays, I understand they provide value for money, but give comedy a start. There are lot of people putting a lot of effort, so be supportive to this art form. I am sure you would love what we do. If you have not got a chance to laugh at his jokes then here are some of the funniest videos after which a doctor’s appointment is a must to get some relief from the jaw pain.