The MBA life comes with its share of stress and schedules that are hard to get away from. So when something like a standup comedy night comes as an escape, you know you want to grab it. The scene at the IIM, Bangalore auditorium spelled the same as one of the most popular standup comics of the country visited the campus on 4th August 2017 – Rahul Subramanian. People had come with the promise of a good time being offered to them and a good time he gave. From MBA placements to marriage and everything in between, Rahul had us in splits throughout the one hour show during the biggest entrepreneurship event in India, Eximius. The jokes were as hilarious as he was amicable when we got to see him after the event was done. People flocked to him for photographs and he graciously obliged. I was fortunate enough to experience his company the next day as well as we sat down for a candid chat with coffee
What does a day in the life of a standup comedian look like?
Every comic has his own thing to do, it’s different for all of us. But for me, the days starts around 10-10:30am. After a good cup of coffee and food, I am generally on my social media, checking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Usually I try to watch a lot of Netflix to get content as it has got anything and everything. Shows and travelling schedules are also a big part.
As you are a Tamilian, Filter Coffee or Comedy?
Oh, filter coffee always! Chuck comedy!
Your oops moment?
I was doing a show in Mumbai and to start it off, I did some audience interaction. I asked a lady and man sitting in the front row whether they were dating. The man replied saying they weren’t. So I was like ‘still trying to land her huh?’ and then the girl said, no he is my father. I have stopped doing much of audience interaction after that.
What was your worst IMT Ghaziabad experience?
The whole point of me getting into an MBA college was to get over my ex-girlfriend. So the first few weeks of being at IMT, all I can remember is me crying my eyes out. Like I even won Mr. Fresher, took the title and then went back and cried some more. Those weeks were a bad experience.
When can we expect an Honest Placement version of MBA coming up?
Oh, you will have to ask AIB (All India Bakchod) about that one. I don’t know.
But being the one from MBA, you can certainly give them insights for the script I suppose?
Oh no, Kumar Varun is also from FMS. But we did Honest Placements, Engineering version for a reason. A lot more people can relate to it than MBA placements.
On that note, who is easier to work with – Varun or Naveen?
I have worked a lot more with Varun relatively. With Naveen, we have acted in a few sketches together but with Varun I have actually sat down and written scripts. So can’t really compare there.
What’s your jam?
Any Bollywood song man. I can’t stop dancing when the music comes on. I like Bollywood numbers and Hip-hop songs. Just that it’s easier to lip sync with Hindi songs. In hip hop numbers, I just leave my mouth open.
Which one would you choose – high number of views/likes on social media or performing live in front of the audience?
Live audience any day. In fact, social media is a medium to get to perform live in front of people. My YouTube or Facebook is just so that people can know who I am. Like I wouldn’t have been able to come and perform here if I was only doing my bit in Mumbai.
I also read that you are called ‘Vidya’ in your bio. What’s the story behind that?
Well, I used to start my monologues initially with ‘Hi my name is Rahul. I am not a Gandhi.’ But it soon became unfunny. So one day I spontaneously changed it to ‘Hi my name is Rahul. You can call me Vidya.’ Surprisingly people started laughing a lot on that and it stuck.
When and where did you meet your wife?
Oh, guess what! I had met her during my MBA days in college. But we actually fell in love here in IIM, Bangalore. We had come from IMT Ghaziabad for Unmaad (cultural fest of IIMB) and that was the starting point of our love story.
(Side Note – So Rahul owes a lot to IIMB. Although he disagrees, says it was the weather. ? :P)
How does she handle all the female attention?
She doesn’t get any.
I meant how does she handle the female attention that you get?
There is nothing to handle really. She is quite okay with it all as long as I bring home the bucks at the end of the day!
Tell us something about your upcoming tour, ‘Kal Main Udega’.
Kal Main Udega is my first solo tour that is completely run by me. I have collated my best jokes from the past two years and will be presenting it in a tighter format across the country. I am doing something like this for the first time but it’s so great to see the venues being sold out weeks in advance. Touchwood, hopefully it all goes well.
Moving to IIM Bangalore, one impressive and one depressive thing about it?
There is nothing really depressive but I am damn impressed by the whole campus man. So much greenery and the effort that goes into maintaining it! It’s a beautiful place. How do you guys maintain it? There is a staff? They are doing a great job!
Which is cooler – coming to IIMB as a student or as a standup comedian?
Definitely as a student. See when you have done an MBA and been through that phase of vying for the top B-schools in the country, you associate a kind of image with these schools. You have a yearning to get into it. In fact, I was talking to my wife after I was done with the show last night and even she was surprised that I finally managed to enter an IIM.
Finally, any parting comments for the overachievers here at IIMB?
To everyone in general – just chill out, everything will turn out fine, don’t stress. To the ones who are aspiring to become standup comics like me, this is the best place you can be right now. Make use of your surroundings and get started right away. Start experimenting with material, understanding what audience wants, leverage all the open mics you have here. I really regret not starting my stints in college. If I had, I would have been a much better comic.
And with that, we finished our last dregs of coffee and crumbs of the mac and cheese. To be honest, it was more like a casual Saturday brunch with someone I knew rather than an interview. That is because Rahul makes you feel so comfortable. And even as I bid adieu as I saw him welcoming his star struck fan to take a selfie with him, I had this happy and light feeling. Kal Main Udega.