Kanan and Biswa: Most Random Ever | Verve Magazine
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November 16, 2015

Kanan and Biswa: Most Random Ever

Text by Zaral Shah

What are these YouTube stars without a script and off the camera? You would be surprised…or not

For two comedians who changed the way people look at movies — some cult films like DDLJ and Hum Saath Saath Hain and some other not so heard of ones like the-one-where-Kanan-wore-the-orange-shirt and the other-one-where-he-smiled-at-the-camera-for-a-whole-five-seconds — Kanan Gill and Biswa Kalyan Rath, former engineers and bloggers, and future Roadies, have taken the online world by storm. And yet, when you meet them in person you discover a bizarre sense of humour, sometimes flat, occasionally deadpan and sometimes bordering on the absurd…

Zaral Shah (ZS): To set the record straight, how old are y’all?
Biswa Kalyan Rath (BKR): Both 25, 3 days apart. He’s 3 days older than me.
Kanan Gill (KG): Older?
BKR: Yeah, tera budday mere se pehle aata hai… (turns to me) he’s a little weak in maths.
KG: Multiplication and division — I’ve nailed that stuff, but yeah addition is my weakness.

ZS: How did you get into stand up comedy?
KG: I grew up watching stand up. So basically, I used to make funny music (I am still wondering what that is) and watch stand up, so the transition was already on page…. When I got bugged with my job, I was looking for something to do on the side and that’s how I found stand up.
BKR: Same thing…but I used to write blogs.
KG: Yeah…incidentally, I thought my blog was how I would get famous…I used to follow all these people…like follow me and I’ll follow you back.

ZS: How did your parents take to it?
Well, it was alongside my job and they were really happy. They were like, oh the kid’s got a passion…he’s always been creative…he never played sports but at least he does this.

BKR: Yeah…I went from there to there. (Raises hand over head and then drops a fair distance) It took me seven years to convince them that ‘kuch nahi hone wala’. You have to give them major shocks early in your life, so that they stop expecting.

ZS: You in 3 words?
Awesome…(struggles to finish that).

ZS: You do stand up for a living, I’m sure you’ve got more.
KG: I know but…this is like putting us in the spot…we can’t pretend to be humble now.
ZS: You don’t have to….
KG: I know, but it’s so much better from an interview point of view.

ZS: What would you name your autobiography?
This stuff happened…

BKR: F*** you guys. 

ZS: A one liner joke that never ceases to be funny?
There’s this great knock knock joke…you have to hear it.

BKR: Knock knock…
ZS: Who’s there?
BKR: Kyunki tum hi…
ZS: Kyunki tum hi…who?

BKR: Kyunki tum hi ho, kyunki tum hi ho, zindagi ab tum hi ho…
ZS: (The pressure we put on comedians to be funny these days…unreal right?)

KG: Though…the one kind of jokes that never cease to be funny are, ‘Your Momma Is…’ jokes…that’s the real fun.
ZS: (Really?!?!)

ZS: If you found a treasure chest, what would you like in it?
BKR: Paisa, aur kya?
KG: I don’t know man…some ancient wisdom…like the original plan for the aircraft that they made in the vedas.
ZS: (Still trying to figure that one out).

ZS: What song would you play at your funeral and why?
KG: Backstreet’s back alrightUntil we meet againBye bye bye by Nsync…As long as you love me
BKR: Jana Gana Mana…

KG: Because they’re standing already?
BKR: Because it’s illegal…
(They discuss whether or not it is illegal with no real conclusion)
KG: I’m going to write a song that’s illegal and which offends every community, race, caste…everything. I’ll request for it to be played and everyone at the funeral has to sing it and also go to jail…it also has to be live streamed around the world.
ZS: You clearly have no soft spot for anyone you’re leaving behind.
KG: I don’t care about them right (laughs)…I did my thing…I’m gone.
KG: Sorry, I’ll stick to Bye bye bye

ZS: What is the most bizarre place or audience you have performed at/for?
I did a show once for a company where I was on one side of the swimming pool and they were on the other side.

ZS: Did anyone jump?
KG: Nope, I wanted to. Because it was awful.
BKR: I had a similar opportunity…I’ve done a show on the second floor of a club when the audience was on the first.
KG: Yeah you have to do things…
ZS: (Wondering what else they’ve done to say that…) 

ZS: What reality TV reality show would you participate in and win?
Keeping up with the Kardashians. You don’t have to win it. By default, if you’re on the show, you’re a loser. I would love it be a part of it.

BKR: I think Roadies…I have friends who’ve auditioned.
KG: I’m changing my answer…Roadies.
ZS: You think you’d win?
KG: 100% I would win Roadies. No one has tried to play the honesty game….

ZS: For how long did you start doodling on blank pages before getting your perfect autograph?
KG: Oh that’s a great question…I think it took a couple of years to nail my autograph.
BKR: (Tells us the selfie is the new autograph) Two people have asked me for an autograph!
KG: Really? I’ve written hundreds…at college fests they don’t like taking selfies…they want you to sign their badges. 

ZS: Has anyone ever hit on you?
KG: I guess…I suppose. 

This interaction took place at the YouTube Comedy Hunt Grand Finale in Mumbai. 

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