Blending music and comedy

Debarati Palit
Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Actor, musician and stand-up comedian Aadar Malik talks about how Indians can accept jokes on themselves, his connect with music and how he ignores trolls

Even though Aadar Malik belongs to a Bollywood musical family (his grandfather is Sardar Malik, uncle is Anu Malik and Amaan and Amaal are cousins), he has created a niche for himself as a stand-up comedian. Aadar is the first comedian to blend music and comedy, and his musical acts have become a huge hit among his fans in the last few years. His 30-second parody on Instagram gets several hits in a day and Aadar says that it’s a fun way to engage with people who are following it.   

The youngster, who performed in Pune recently, has lots to share about his work and comedy in India. Excerpts:

Working on fresh content
We are writing a lot of fresh content now because our Amazon special has just released, so we are desperately writing new material. We are therefore travelling a lot and writing five minutes and then testing out. That’s how we will have an hour of content very soon.

Indians can accept  jokes on themselves  
It’s a misconception that Indians can’t accept jokes on themselves. In fact, they love it, at least those who pay and come to watch our acts, are open to jokes. But on the other hand, you also have people who are randomly trolling you on the internet. There have been a few moments where the audience hasn’t agreed but overall, I had a great experience. People who come to watch our acts are very agreeable and come with an open mind. That’s because people are realising that it’s becoming an alternate form of entertainment and is growing fast. Comedy is the number one consumed genre on YouTube right now. If I want to go out with my family, I would rather go and watch a comedy show knowing that I will at least get to laugh compared to watching a film which might or might not be good, leaving me disappointed and angry.

Connecting through music
I have been blending music with my comedy because that is different from other comics. It was a calculative attempt because people like music. I am really attacking that and making it my own to the point that if someone thinks about this genre, the first person to come to their mind is me. This is my niche and I want to continue doing it. I believe that music really connects because the recall value of a song is much more. If I crack a joke twice or thrice, people might not enjoy it. But music is odd. And the first time I experienced it was in Pune. I was trying to come up with new songs but there was this group of 20 odd people who had come for the act just to listen to my old songs which left me thinking that songs have a certain shelf life compared to a joke. I thought of exploring that.

Only music did not really happen
I did only music for the longest time, till 18, before I started acting. I started acting to overcome stage fright and when I started off, I felt it fits better. I realised that I want to be in performing arts. Then I started blending it with music and the audience connected with me. So, I don’t regret all the music training that I had.

Getting global fame
I am doing a French movie now. It’s a type of film that will open my mind to something bigger than just sticking to Bollywood. We get a lot of comments from Indians living across the world on social media about how you need a certain amount of global growth to grow as an artist on YouTube. If you want to cater to a wider audience, then English works better.    

No controversies, please
I have managed to stay away from controversies. I have treaded to the point where I am flirting with the line but never crossing it. I like satirical pieces as compared to screaming out your opinion to the point you are not being objective anymore. I think you need to maintain an objective view when writing a comedic piece and when you do that, people will not get offended.   

Not reacting to trolls
I have stopped bothering about trolls on social media because it really hurts. You wake up in the morning and you find 10 comments saying, ‘You are terrible, go die’. YouTube is pretty ruthless that way. I slowly realised that these people have nothing to do and take out their frustration on social media, so I shouldn’t be bothering about them. There are some who are very encouraging. I try to cater to such people and if they have some requests, I try working on that.  

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