The doctors of laughter

The doctors of laughter

If ‘Laughter is the best medicine’ then Greg Proops and Jeff Davis are doctors of laughter, and bringing them to Hyderabad for a special show was Papa...

Greg Proops and Jeff Davis of globally renowned show ‘Whose Line is it Anyway’ were in Hyderabad along with stand-up artist Papa CJ. An interview with the trio was no less than an entertaining live show

If ‘Laughter is the best medicine’ then Greg Proops and Jeff Davis are doctors of laughter, and bringing them to Hyderabad for a special show was Papa CJ, India’s very own comedy machine. The trio gave an improv programme as a part of Black Dog Easy Evenings recently.

As they were seated, ready to speak, one could hear loud bouts of laughter from the room. And the charm just spreads in the room, and you cannot do anything but laugh along with the stalwarts of comedy.

When asked the collaboration, Papa CJ was first one to answer, “It is very easy - Black Dog paid us lots of money to behave friendly with each other.” Greg and Jeff burst into a laughter with this witty reply.

“Greg and I have worked together for a longtime in ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’. We have just met Papa CJ. It is a new collaboration for three of us. Dynamics between us is tensed,” Jeff shared.

“It’s terrible. We don’t like each other,” Papa CJ countered.“Blood feud,” Greg added.
The only way we could go forward was pose a question. “You are known as global face of Indian comedy, how do you feel?”, we ask Papa CJ

“It was not good at all because I became global face of Indian stand-up as nobody gave me work in India. I had to go outside. So, nobody knows me here. Nobody will come for me here, tonight. They will come to see them (Jeff and Greg).”

While it is obvious they are the stars of every show they do, how do they handle hecklers, without losing their act?

The veteran comedian Greg shared, “I deal with them smartly. If you go western with me I am gonna crush you like a jelly bean. No one gets western with me. It is my show, it’s my mic, I have the conch and I don’t care if you have an opinion.

I have thought about what I am going to say for a really long time, and you’re a drunk idiot - then I really don’t elect you to speak for the world. I invite you to spend a lifetime on the stage honing your satire and then you may join me on the stage until that moment you may shut up.”

Papa CJ says, “Oh I give them their moment in the sun and let them think that they have won for just a half second and then I absolutely destroy them. I deal differently with men and women. If it is men, then I destroy them instantly, and if it is women, I will be nice for the first time around and wait until the point when they are destroying the show for everybody else. And then I go after them.”

“People don’t tend to heckle improv that much as it happens quickly. But, people do get drunk and noisy and I would like to make a star out of them. Like ‘oh you want to be on stage’ and point all the spotlights on them;

they tend to freak out and then shut up. We have to be careful you can’t just yell back at them although the audience too hates that person; it is usually a guy. If you can get the whole audience against the guy then they will get up and leave,” Jeff shares.
Making people laugh is a hardest trait and it is obvious that the trio have mastered the art. So, who makes them laugh?

“I think the funniest people aren’t comedians. They are the people you know. My cousin Donny makes me laugh, my wife makes me laugh. In stand-up there are a zillion stand-up comedians I worship and adore. When I was growing up, I loved George Carlin, Joan Rivers and Robin Williams. I worshipped them. Now there are a million people who are extraordinary in the field. It is boom time for comedy,” Greg shares.

Jeff says that a lot of UK TV shows make him laugh. “There is a show called ‘Toast of London’ with Matt Berry. Oh my god! It is funny. I like dry, weird English stuff. It is so not American comedy. I laugh harder at some books than TV shows. Good wordsmithing always gets me.”

Papa CJ says he loves George Carlin, Chris Rock and Greg’s cousin Donny. “They are on my top three (laughs).”

By Navin Pivhal

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