Sushant Ghadge wears many hats — He is a stand-up comedian, actor, content creator and an influencer. He has tickled funnybones and won hearts of audiences with his stand-up shows in Marathi. Sushant rose to prominence with his performances in web series like Chikatgunde (2020), Hing, Pustak, Talwar (2021). The comedian recently took audiences on a fun ride with his stand-up show in Kothrud, Pune. The Free Press Journal caught up with Sushant for a quick chat about his journey, and more.
How do your family and friends’ react to your stand-up act?
My stand-ups are unfiltered and I make jokes about my parents. They hadn’t seen a live performance before I got into it. Hence, I was worried about their reaction to my jokes. But I’m glad they liked my show and I was excited that many people showed up to watch me.
What do you enjoy more: Standup comedy or acting?
Whenever you play a character, people judge that character, but when you are a stand-up comedian you get noticed based on how you choose to kindle laughter in people.
I’ve played roles that I have nothing in common with. For instance, the sexual orientation of character I played in Chikatgunde was different than mine and I am different from the one I am playing in the upcoming Sharma Ji ki Beti. I don’t necessarily have the same experiences and personalities as the characters I play, yet it’s fun to match the vibe of those characters.
How easy or difficult is to win over Marathi audience compared to other languages’ audiences?
It’s not easy. The Marathi audience watches Hindi and English stand-ups, but it isn’t the other way round. Marathi audience has options — if they don’t like Marathi comedians, they can move on. Though there might be a large audience, it’s just difficult to find your target audience and keep them interested for long. On a positive note, when content has the ‘connect factor’, they will stay glued.
How did you discover your inner comedian?
I found my inner stand-up comedian during a microbiology class. My professor was a fun person whose lectures were humorous, and that got me involved in making jokes. At that time, I had no idea what it meant. However, today, I am into it with all my heart, mind and soul. Performing stand-up comedy is a science you need to learn, observe and practice to be able to perform well. It’s important to watch others and never pull oneself down.
The must have been several crazy fan moments, a particular one that stands out the most?
It’s not exactly a crazy fan moment, but it was heartwarming and my most memorable one. During college, I performed in plays. I won a prize for a one-act play and people approached me for autographs. Years later, when I performed a stand-up show, they were there in the audience and asked for my autograph again. I was amazed... It was an unforgettable moment.
A particular artiste you look up to from the comedy genre?
I look up to every artiste. Upcoming comedians who are coming up with something unique, and established ones going out of their comfort zones to try new things, all inspire me.
There have been instances when humour has ended up hurting sentiments. How do you draw the line between comedy and insult?
I think ‘dark humour’ is underrated in India. I personally love experimenting with dark jokes in my shows. The aim of every good comedian is to make people laugh and not hurt them. Yet, sometimes, what comedians say is interpreted differently by the audience, which messes things up. It's important that comedians take responsibility for what they say. Also, the audience must note that the artistes intend to make them laugh and not hurt them.