#PPFeatures: Nitin Mirani – An exclusive interview with the “outgoing introvert” comic

Nitin Mirani is an international comedian from Dubai who’s been “buying laughter,” as he would say, for close to nine years. He's done it all – music, real estate, photography, choreography, acting… until he found his true calling, comedy.

Now, I am no regular at stand-up shows, but I do enjoy listening to and processing the journey of a joke. This is where Mirani has mastered the art of storytelling and improvising; he observes his audience and eases them into laughing at their own quirks.

I got a chance to chat with the glocal funny-man.

How did comedy happen?
I think comedy was meant to happen to me. It’s not my career it’s my calling. I was just doing it for free among my friends and found myself very comfortable. Like many comics, I was very shy, but I was a different person on stage. Even now if you see me, I am a bit of an introvert. So I call myself the outgoing introvert. But on stage I am full – game on.

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Was there any particular moment when you just knew that you wanted to be a comedian?
Few incidents that happened in my life unfortunately, I went more into a shell. But then there was my drama teacher Suneel Hattangadi who said, “I’ll put you on stage.” I could hardly speak. I thought he’s lost his mind, but he believed in me. So my first ever performance on stage was of me playing Nehru’s mother and I won an award. That’s when it hit me that this is how people like me. I felt an acceptance from the audience, which I didn’t get otherwise as a child. As an introvert it is very difficult… and here I felt I am not doing anything wrong. I am actually making them happy and I realized them laughing and being happy makes me happy too.

I really enjoy my shows. I keep cracking up because it’s actual therapy for me. So I say I am not selling jokes, I am buying laughter.

Comedy has several forms. What made you choose stand-up?
With stand-up there’s instant gratification; everything else is sort of a by-product. If you come on stage tomorrow, you’ll know within fifteen minutes if this is meant for you or not. Once you get off stage, you’ll be like “Ab main nahi karoongi, ya toh main phir se try karoongi.” So in a world where this sort of instant gratification is less… I think everybody should do comedy because it really gets the fear out.

Fear of…?
True story, when I started doing comedy, my mother used to say, “what are you doing with your life? People are laughing at you.” Then it just made sense that people are very scared to be laughed at. Once you’re done with the fact that people are laughing at you, nobody can affect you.

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What’s your process of writing?
I haven’t been writing for some time now. I do a lot of improve. I enjoy coming up with these quips and it wins a lot of confidence with the audience. They know it’s not made up. I have a skeleton ready before I go on stage and the audience just fills it up.

So "comedy" has suddenly become huge in India and there are few comedians who have basically become ambassadors of the genre. Where do you place yourself in the current trend?
So I am known, but I am a bit of an outsider. For a long time I was trying to fit in, but that was the wrong thing. I am creating my own niche. I am an international comic. I’ll never be an India-based desi comic.

Lastly, if given a choice what would be your alternative career?
Never giving up stand-up. That is my identity. Stand-up is maa.

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