For the Sake of Argument, Founder Sourya, caught up with Rohan Mukherjee

Rohan, is a Lawyer turned StandUp Comedian. One of those rare breed, who despite being successful in law, threw cation to the wind and decided to follow his passion. Currently a Comedian/Writer at The Awkward Fruit Comedy Club in Mumbai, when not destroying peaceful surroundings with his jokes, Rohan can be found writing for his page @smallEpics

He talks about Law, Comedy and everything in between with his trademark wit and sarcasm.! 

Sourya (S): You
had your own Legal Platform, Grayscale Legal, while still in Law School, had received an PPO and were a Kairos Fellow. Yet you threw it all away and chose to become a standup comedian! The obvious question first. When’s your next show?
Rohan (R): You make it sound like I had this
entire kingdom laid down in front of me, and all I decided was to be a court
jester! I’m moving to Mumbai soon, so after I pick out a nice spot on the
pavement to spend my nights, I’ll get to know more.
But June 23rd. I think.
(S): On
a more serious note, what were your exact thoughts when you choose standup
comedy as a career instead of law?
(R): First off, 5 years back when I
decided to do nothing but law, so much so that I did not even fill out any
forms for any other stream, anywhere – I was dead sure that this is what I
wanted to do with my life. And had comedy not been a factor, I would have happily
pursued a career in environmental law with zero regrets. But look, choosing
between law and comedy to me was like choosing between beer and chocolate fudge
ice cream. Law, like beer was an acquired taste – you grow to love it and it
takes a few cringing gulps to go through that, and in no time a cold beer and a
hot day go hand in hand. Comedy, on the other hand for me, is like chocolate fudge. No
one really tells you to ‘like’ chocolate fudge. You don’t have your friends breathing
down your neck to try that flavor. This is a flavor I love
naturally. While beer, I had to teach myself to love.
(S): When
did you realize your love for standup comedy?
(R): Face it, I’m funny. More often than
not, I embarrass people around me with my off-color humor. Fortunately, Indian
stand up scene started to boom very recently and I just happened to come across
it. I was into stand up since school, and the reason I took up PDs or even
thought about litigation stemmed from the rush I wanted from just standing in
front of a bunch of people and being clever. My mental make-up used to be like,
forget about Matter and Method, and focus on Manner. Obviously, didn’t work out
that well. Thinking about it now, every Whip speech of mine used to be like a 7
minute set. Open with lame ice breaking comments, follow up rebuttals with
weird analogies and close looking for, if not laughs, table bangs. So it was
always there somehow, and this transition was very easy for me.
(S): In
the current world where everyone’s running behind bigger paychecks, I am sure
leaving your job to follow your passion wasn’t a very easy decision.  How did people around you react to this news?
(R): Actually it was, you know. Bigger
paychecks are not a factor at all. Honest. If you’re good at anything, you’ll
get paid well. Sure, will take some time – but it’s bound to happen. I’m not
dismissing people who make a conscious decision to run after a profession
purely because it pays well, everyone has their own reason. But perhaps the
point I’m trying to get to is, if you see a kick-ass electrician, and a
pathetic doctor – who do you think gets fresh work more often?
Anyway if I did take up law, I
would without doubt be getting into litigation, so let’s not take the income
angle at all. Just that, in litigation it would require me to work my ass off,
day and night for at least 3-5 years before I could even dream of turning into
a rainmaker. In comedy, I have to think of goofy shit. Laziness wins, no?
(S): How
did your parents react when you first pitched this idea?
Rohan performing in Vizag
(R): It took a while for me to drop it
on them. But I guess, career wise, they had learnt to leave that to me. My
parents have always been very liberal about all this fortunately. It’s
absolutely understandable that after having invested all this money into my
legal education, they would have their little aspirations that involved me in a
black robe, but I believe the attire just made me sweat profusely,
metaphorically. I made my dad sit with me through George Carlin, Seinfeld and
Louis CK specials, just to make him subtly understand that respectable grown
men do this for a living as well. Manipulative bugger that I am.
(S): Are
you completely leaving law or is there a possibility of ever coming back to it
in the future?
(R): How can one ever leave law? In 5
years, you have been attuned to thinking in a particular way and using facts to
back your arguments. I’ll be doing the same, hopefully. I mean it is unfair
that the courts of law produce some of the best comedy material, but then what
can one do!
But practicing as a lawyer after
deciding to go into comedy? I hope not. That would be a very KRK move.
(S): Any
words of advice for those directionless souls who may have taken up law only because
they are scared of following their passion?
(R): I believe that as far as ‘serious
professions’ go – law is an amazing one. How many professions allow you to
actually change shit around you, make money, and make your opinion count in a
dinner conversation? But if that doesn’t ignite that little fire in you, so to
speak, do something else, man. Sure, going after your passion can be scary, but
what’s even scarier is to live without even trying. Sounds fancy, but hey look,
I spent 5 years in Cuttack. The nearest place with an inkling of a comedy scene
was Kolkata, or Vishakapatnam. I have taken so many long train journeys, to
even Delhi and Mumbai, just for those 3 minutes on stage at an open mic. You
don’t get paid in open mics. It seems a little crazy right now, but hey, I
wouldn’t have it any other way.
Read An Old Interview of Rohan, from before his standup days, while he was still in Law School HERE

For people looking for some legally sanitized comedy shows for their college fest, organization reunion etc, feel free to contact Rohan Mukherjee on Facebook or Twitter

You can also check out some of his work on YouTube HERE and HERE

Sharing is caring!