Baring it all! Papa CJ about book 'Naked'
Popular stand-up comedian Papa CJ in his autobiography ‘Naked’ talks about his journey, from the streets of Calcutta to the University of Oxford and on various stages across the world…
Papa CJ has won awards as both Asia's and India's Best Stand-up Comedian. He has performed over 2000 shows in 25 countries and has had numerous appearances on NBC, BBC, Comedy Central, Showtime, MTV, Paramount, The Comedy Channel, ITV and a host of other international networks. He is the only Indian comedian to have shot his own solo special with Comedy Central Asia. Forbes Magazine called him 'the global face of Indian stand-up' and Harvard Business Review called him one of the most influential comedians around the world. He has taped a Showtime USA stand-up comedy special with Russell Peters and on the American TV show Last Comic Standing, he was placed in the top 10 from over 3000 contestants across the world. He has been invited to speak at Harvard Business School and the University of Oxford. He talks about the memoir 'Naked' and what it has taken for his to pen it with much candidness.
Excerpts from an interview:
What was the idea to pen a memoir at this point in your life?
In all honesty, it wasn't a decision I made. A publisher saw my show 'Naked' and thought the story was powerful enough to warrant a book based on the same. Their offer got me thinking about doing the book and I eventually signed a contract.
How and why did you choose the title 'Naked' for the book?
The book uses the vehicle of my life to talk about the human experience. The ethos behind the name is that as human beings we build walls around ourselves that hide our deepest hopes and fears and desires. As the story progresses, I remove these walls and expose all my vulnerability and my pain. At the end of it, while I am completely naked, I am also completely free. It is a light and easy read that also takes the reader through an emotional roller coaster. Hopefully, by the end, it should give the reader a new lens with which to look at their own life. A lens that allows them, like me, to always see the positive. And of course, the funny!
What is your writing process like?
In a stand-up comedy show, I remove every extra word that I don't need to get to the punchline as soon as possible. The book, however, allowed me the luxury of putting in a lot more interesting details and stories, which I believe will make the experience richer for the reader. The book has more than four times the content of the show and since it is built on the foundation of a stage performance, it offers my reader both - the punchiness of stand-up comedy combined with rich anecdotes from life.
Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
If I'm writing funny stuff, before it goes to print, I'll sometimes take it to a live comedy show and test the material in front of an audience. That way when my stuff goes to the reader, I don't just think it's funny, I know it's funny because it has been tried, tested and validated.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
Self-discipline is not an area of strength! I write only under two circumstances. When I'm inspired and when I have an immovable deadline!
Is it a onetime stint or are you planning to author more books in the future?
I already have ideas for three more books. However, first, I need to sell the international rights for this book, record the audiobook and explore screen adaptation possibilities. Of course, I will continue to do live stand-up comedy at corporate and public shows alongside some motivational speaking and corporate training work