By: Asjad Nazir
One reviewer wrote that an hour with Rajiv Karia is a smooth comedy experience, and they are not wrong.
The fast-rising stand-up comedy star delighted audiences last year at the Edinburgh Fringe and brings that show to Soho Theatre in London in June. The talented writer and performer tackles diverse subjects in the show Gallivant, including personal family moments most will find relatable. Eastern Eye caught up with Karia to discuss Gallivant, comedy, being on stage and if being funny has ever been helpful in real life.
What first connected you to comedy?
I am the son of Indian immigrants, so as you would expect, they pressured me into studying comedy at university. However, I wanted to pursue my passion, and chose to study law instead. But, I soon realised that a career in law was unlikely to be successful due to high competition, so I decided to play it safe and become a comedian instead.
What has been the most memorable moment of your comedy journey?
At a gig earlier this year, me and a guy in the audience realised that we had kissed the same girl in 2010. That was a pretty special moment.
How do you feel being on stage in front of a live audience?
I love it. Even when it’s not going well, I love it. It makes me feel relaxed. You get to have the most interesting conversations. I am a very nosy person, and you would be amazed what you can find out if you ask a stranger from stage.
What can audiences expect from your show Gallivant?
Gallivant is a show about reassessing old dreams, and trying to figure out where they might have gone. In the show, I look at where I’m at in life, and compare it to what my parents had achieved by this point. And there’s a lot of stuff about Pret A Manger in it too.
How much of the show is based on personal experiences?
All of it is based on personal experiences. These are all real things that happened to me, but some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
What inspired the interesting title of the show?
I’m a very out-and about person. My mum would call it gallivanting. And it felt like it matched up to my personality.
What is it like performing at such an iconic comedy venue like Soho theatre?
It’s a dream come true. I’ve probably watched about 100 shows there, so it’s time to earn some of that money back.
Who are you hoping your brand of humour connects with?
I performed this show at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe and was fortunate enough to have diverse audiences who enjoyed the show (or at least pretended to), so I like to think that all sorts of people might enjoy it. And I think children of immigrants and millennials might particularly relate to my story.
What makes for great comedy?
Confidence is good. Or the comedic lack of confidence.
Who is your own comedy hero?
I’m always trying to be Guy Goma.
Has being funny helped you in real life?
Making jokes has proved a way of diffusing intense situations. Or sometimes it just makes two people hate you more than they hate each other, which is another way to break up a fight.
Why should we all come to see your show Gallivant?
The first night of Gallivant is four days after the Succession finale, so you’re going to need something to do. And if you come find me after the show, we can talk about Succession.
Rajiv Karia: Gallivant at Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE, from next Thursday (1) to next Saturday (3). www.sohotheatre.com