For ENT surgeon Dr Jagdish Chaturvedi, being on stage is something he has been doing since childhood. From enacting small plays and dabbling in theatre to trying his hand at standup comedy, he has done it all. In a candid chat with Tini Sara Anien, the medical practitioner-cum-comedian talks about his fun-filled journey so far.
When did you realise that you have a funny streak?
I realised that I have a knack of delivering punchlines. I would recraft a statement and deliver funny lines at any given situation. This was a trait seen in me from childhood.
What pushed you to the stage?
I love attention. I have the tendency to do things which make me the centre of attraction.
Your regular starting line.
My latest line is "I’m a doctor performing standup comedy but please don’t beat me, because I am already married”.
Who among your family and friends finds you most funny?
My wife Soumya. Most of my material is inspired from what transpires between the two of us. I’m a forgetful person and she finds a lot of things funny in our daily life.
An embarrassing moment on stage...
When I was young, I was in the play Julius Caesar, which is a serious story. I was playing the rule of Julius and in the scene where Brutus stabs Julius, I didn’t realise that I was being stabbed with the fake knife. It was after a whole minute or two that I finally let out a shriek and 'fell dead’. I made a very serious act into a comic one, by messing up.
How has comedy helped in your work?
Comedy is a great icebreaker. Though I’m sensitive to my patient’s clinical conditions, I joke with them which helps them share information with me casually. It helps me bond with them too.
What do you do when a joke isn’t funny enough?
I mix medical terms with humour and basically tell the audience that they lack the hormones to understand my joke. I just tell them that it was a diagnostic check to deduce how fit the audience was.
Your most common subjects are...
Most of my jokes are about something that went embarrassingly wrong or are observational pieces with recent happenings. A popular bit is about how I lied to my wife about being at the hospital while I was watching a movie.
If not a doctor and a comedian, then?
I would have been an actor.
Something that you want to work on?
I am good at observational impromptu acts but I want to work on hardcore punchlines. I also want to improve on my puns. Sometimes, I am not punny.
What is the funniest reaction you’ve got for a show?
There have been times when people would tell me that I’m underrated. Then there are times when people come wanting to take a selfie with me and end up fixing consultation appointments, because they can get a medical checkup with free entertainment at a minimal price. I have had to increase my fees because of this!
Tell us a joke...
I just did!