Art & Entertainment

Cyrus Broacha: As A Comedian, I Shouldn’t Get Too Personal, The More Personal I Get, The More People Start Taking Offense

Cyrus Broacha opens up about how comedy has grown in these many years. Also, he reveals some of the topics that are off-limits for him as well.


Cyrus Broacha

Cyrus Broacha has been one of the original stand-up comics from India. He has been doing stand-up and making up laugh even before the nation knew the term stand-up comedy. Even today whenever you get to hear his show or his podcast, you will end up ROFL. The way he cracks up jokes is not only original even today, but they have that sense of relatability which instantly connects with you. To add to that, there are barely any cusses or abuses that he uses to elicit laughter from the audiences, which has sort of become the main staple of today’s new-generation stand-up comics.


Talking to Prateek Sur, Cyrus Broacha opens up about how comedy has grown in these many years. Also, he reveals some of the topics that are off-limits for him as well. Excerpts from the candid chat:

When you started off, you and Kunal Vijayakar were like the only new-age stand-up comics around. Now, we have one stand-up comic coming up in every household. Do you think the level of comedy has also grown in these many years?

Reflecting back on my early days, no one understood that I was a stand-up comic, the idea was very new to people. Comedy was a whole other ballgame back then. But now, the appetite of the viewers has evolved, and they are more open to experimental, cutting-edge humour. This shift has given new-age comedians a platform to explore diverse styles of comedy and push the boundaries of what’s possible and allow people to observe and enjoy comedy in different ways. With a hunger for fresh and diverse content, there's never been a better time for comics to take a leap out of their comfort zones and explore new horizons. I really hope that people are encouraged to choose comedy as a profession.


Many comics today say that they’re scared of cracking jokes as everyone in India is nowadays ready to take offence on anything and everything. Was it the same when you started off? Were you ever scared before cracking a joke on TV or elsewhere?

The current climate is more sensitive than it was back when I started working as a comedian. When I started performing, a smaller number of people would watch television and the audience did not react badly to the content presented to them. Nowadays, due to the presence of the internet a lot has changed, and people are somewhere more aware. As comedians, we have a responsibility to push boundaries and challenge norms, while also being respectful of different perspectives and experiences. It's all about finding the right balance.

Is the current day establishment or rather the authorities in power responsible for this shift, where people are scared to even crack jokes to their heart's content?

The shift towards people feeling scared to express themselves freely, including cracking jokes, is a complex issue that cannot be attributed to a single cause or entity. We as individuals have certain internal restrictions when it comes to what is offensive and what is not. Before assigning blame to an authority, we should look deep into ourselves. The reason behind this shift can be attributed to a variety of factors, including changes in societal norms, advances in technology and communication, and shifts in political and cultural climates. It is always better to trust instincts and take the risk while being responsible.


We are not very good at laughing at ourselves, are we?

I think I realised I have the potential to have fun only after I cracked jokes about myself. People are comfortable about cracking jokes on themselves in a certain company. When a person feels judged in the company, it automatically becomes difficult for them to crack jokes on themselves. Honestly, it depends. Some people are very good at laughing at themselves and can find humour in their mistakes or embarrassing situations, while others may feel embarrassed or ashamed and struggle to find humour in such situations.

I remember having done an interview with you long back and you had mentioned that you used to read about 10-15 newspapers every morning to get all the stories so you can create your content from that. Do you still follow the same pattern? Or has your source of inspiration changed over the years?


Times have changed and the number of newspapers I read have also reduced, but I still love print newspapers as its comfortable for me to read the most important news of the day from the paper rather than the phone or laptops. The trust factor with the internet is always less so I choose to read print papers everyday.

Any topic that's off-limits when you write gags for your personal shows?

I believe that there should be no topic that is completely off-limits when it comes to comedy. However, I also believe that as a comedian I should not get too personal, the more personal I get, the more people start taking offense. I try and stick to political, economic, and social issues. I delve into current trends and stay away from making personal remarks.


Do you feel that creativity is dying in today’s time on TV and ads, etc especially because the budgets of them have grown too big, and the producers aren’t just willing enough to take too much risk with so much investment at stake?

No, I don’t think creativity is dying in television and advertisements, it is just evolving and changing. There are different ways to consume content and diverse content are now being produced every day. Creativity has changed but it is not dying. In fact, I believe that there are still plenty of opportunities for creative expression in TV and Advertising, even with larger budgets and higher stakes.


Your podcast has been doing fantastic. What’s the future of the audio industry in India in the coming years?

The future of the podcast industry is bright. Podcast is all about custom made products and in today’s world that’s what the consumer craves, and the podcast industry caters to that.

Given an option what would you choose – a TV show on a big channel or your own podcast or The Week That Wasn’t?

The reach of television is any day more than a podcast or any other medium of mass entertainment, so I would love to have my own television show.