From market researcher to a full-time mazaak-maker and laughter-inducer, Aishwarya Mohanraj is the new stand-up comedian on the block.
Why does this fresh face look so familiar and seem so funny, you ask?
Aishwarya was one of the contestants on the comedy show, Comicstaan Season 1, where she started from the bottom, and look where she’s gotten now. On a huge poster of her own comic act, to be precise!
This is an interview with the girl who’s come a long way (at a very young age) from being LOL-ed at her hilarious Facebook statuses to being our latest favourite female stand-up.
When did you realise you can make people laugh?
I can't pinpoint an exact instance. But I'd like to believe I made my friends laugh. I used to write funny Facebook statuses which got a fair share of likes. Other than that, I never did anything about it until the day I decided I want to go for an open mic.
We know Aishwarya Mohanraj from Comicstaan, but what was she up to before that?
I've done my B.Pharm and MBA and then I worked at Nielsen as a research analyst for 5 months before I quit my job to participate Comicstaan. I always wanted a job in market research, and I was ecstatic when I got it. But within a week of starting work, the reality of it hit me. Like this was it. This was my life! And that scared me. I guess I started doing stand-up cause I needed to break the monotony. As a person, I was pretty much the way I am now. No significant changes per se.
Tell us about your journey while doing Comicstaan
Comicstaan was a great experience! I was 3 months into comedy when I auditioned for it and hence had zero expectations. I was happy that I was even considered to audition. Once I got in, it was a lot of fun. I've written more in those 2 months than I have in a year. Getting mentored by amazing comics is always a major plus. I'm glad I quit my job for it otherwise I don't think I'd get the opportunity to do this interview.
How has life changed since?
Life has changed drastically. People know me. They pay money to watch me. I have a great career. My parents have accepted my choice to stand up. I get to do what I love and mostly on my own terms. How many people can say that?
How has your journey been different as a female stand-up comedian?
Very honestly, I don't think my gender has influenced my work after Comicstaan. I've gotten a lot of opportunities and I'm very happy with the way things have worked out for me.
If you had to identify your style of comedy, what would it be?
My style of comedy involves my personal experiences and observations. Crowd interaction is a huge part of my stand-up.
What's your prep like before you go on stage?
This is going to sound damn weird, but I listen to the “Manmarziyaan” album an hour before I get on stage. It's a thing now. But before I go on stage, I pace around and do my set. If there's a mirror, I'm in front of it saying my set.
One piece of advice as a comedian who finally made it, to people who are still trying?
I wouldn't say I've made it. I got an opportunity and I made good use of that, but I still have a long way to go before I say I've made it. However, an advice I'd give any comic is that keep working on your material. You will hate it after 6 months so don't stop working on it. And don't take anything for granted.
What's that one thing about Aishwarya Mohanraj we don’t know?
I can recite the alphabet backwards and I my parents are way funnier than me.
I'll release stand-up videos this year and hopefully, have a good hour before this year ends. Also, iss saal toh travel karna hai, yaar!