Wolf in sheep’s clothing: Interview with stand-up comedian Papa CJ
Instrumental in the growth of live stand-up comedy in India, Papa CJ has wowed millions around the world with his cutting-edge, sarcastic humour. Hailed as India’s greatest comedy export he was amongst the top ten acts in the world on NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2008 and has had sold-out tours across four different continents over the past two years. With all this, he has also founded “One Child” – a charity that works with underprivileged children in India that is largely funded by his comedy.
As he continues to regale his global audience with comedy routines, Papa CJ took some time out to speak to me.
How did you get into being a stand up comedian and how was your first show?
I was born the son of a tea planter in India. After nine years of boarding school in the Himalayas I went on to do an MBA from the University of Oxford. Four years into a corporate job in London, I saw stand-up for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I remember thinking if you can get on a stage, make people laugh, sometimes even abuse them AND get them to pay you for it, then why on earth would you ever go to an office. I threw up my job immediately and three months later I was on stage. My first show was on a boat in South East London called the Wibbly Wobbly boat and it went better than I expected!
What is your creative process for getting ideas?
I get ideas from my own experiences. People I meet, things I see, news I read, beautiful women who ignore me… all of it is mixed up with my opinion and forms the base for my humour.
Who are your comedy heroes and why?
George Carlin and Chris Rock. Carlin for his material and Rock for his attitude.
What is your biggest achievement to-date?
Being a good son and a decent human being, having slept with Angelina Jolie and never having told any lies.
How does your family put up with your witty banter?
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones.
What is your ambition?
To be a good father and a better comedian. And to sleep with Angelina Jolie. Again. And again.
When was the last time you bombed?
In a post 9/11 world, as a brown man I disassociate myself with anything to do with the word ‘bombed’.
Can you describe yourself in a few words?
I can best be described in the words of my ex-girlfriend’s school teacher who wrote to her parents and told them that their daughter was dating ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’!
What would you be doing if you weren’t a comedian?
Rotting in the cesspit of a corporate organisation as an underachiever with little ambition who compromised on his dream to follow his heart and now has to kiss the rear end of a man he despises so he can put food on the table and give himself the illusion that one day his pathetic life may mean something when he has a fancy meaningless title that impresses nobody.
What would your fans be surprised to learn about you?
My legal name.
Can you tell us what your current projects are and what you might have lined-up for the future?
Currently telling hilarious jokes all over the world (India, Australia and Singapore in the last 3 months of 2010). Future plans…God only knows…make me an offer!
I am sure you will have many offers lined up. Thank you for your time. A note to our readers before you leave…
I come from the land of the Kama Sutra… I could f*** you in more ways than you can count!