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In Conversation with Nishant Suri

Nishant Suri is a stand-up comedian and was declared the winner of Amazon Prime Video's comedy reality show Comicstaan. A BITS Goa graduate from 2007, he worked as an investment banker, then turned to wed photography, post which he took up standup comedy. He’s won competitions at IIT Delhi, Vir Das's Pajamafest, Radio One Delhi, and Comedy Central's Chuckle Hunt. In this interview, he takes us through his journey as a stand-up comedian and his philosophy on happiness and fulfillment.

What has been your most memorable college experience?

During orientation day, it had rained, making the campus look incredibly beautiful. It was my first time being there, and I had a great time exploring it. There were so many highlights of life at BITS, but I particularly remember the moments when every new semester started, we had a tradition to go to Bogmalo beach.

Did you participate in any clubs/departments that sparked your passion for comedy?

I had joined the drama club. Although I didn't specifically aim for comedy, I had a great time being on stage and performing. It served as a stepping-stone, helping me explore my true passions. As a member of the drama club, we had the opportunity to perform at various colleges, including events like Oasis and Waves. I particularly enjoyed participating in street plays during Waves.

How was your experience participating in and winning Comicstaan season 1?

All the standup comedians shared living space, and our conversations revolved around comedy from morning until night. It was an intense and high-pressure environment, but it pushed each of us to bring out our best. It compelled us to delve deep within ourselves to create meaningful material.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a standup comedian?

Creating new material and staying relevant in an era where entertainment is just a swipe away can be quite demanding. However, I genuinely enjoy the process of coming up with material, crafting jokes, and performing on stage. On the other hand, producing short viral videos like reels is not my cup of tea. My ultimate goal is to reach a point where I don't have to invest so much time and effort into the social media aspect of my profession.

What lessons have you learnt in your standup comedy career that can help students at BITS in their journey?

Your happiness and peace of mind should be your top priority. It has always been the main motivation in my life. Take time to discover what truly fulfills you. Being content with who you are and the path you choose is very essential. College is an excellent opportunity to explore and understand yourself better. My personal philosophy is to make the most out of life and enjoy it to the fullest. So, why waste it on something you don't genuinely desire? Don't evaluate your self-worth based solely on your academic achievements. Your academic performance doesn’t define you.

Students are sometimes afraid of taking risks, or change in general. What would you tell students who want to take the risk but cannot find the way to?

I began doing standup comedy simply because I enjoyed it. During that time, standup comedy wasn't a lucrative field, so it was risky to quit my job and pursue it. However, I was fortunate enough to have the financial support and backing of my parents, which made it possible for me to take that leap. I understand that not everyone has the privilege to take such risks due to various responsibilities and circumstances. However, if I could do it, why not others? In BITS, everyone is young and has numerous opportunities to explore and make up for any lost chances.