Funnyman and actor Vir Das is the first Indian stand-up comic to land himself a Netflix original special. He follows in the footsteps of comedy greats like Kevin Hart, Louis CK, Aziz Ansari, Chris Rock, Bo Burnham, Bill Burr and Russell Peters. Filmed in New Delhi and New York, Abroad Understanding drops on Netflix today in 130 countries.
Das may be well on his way to becoming a global face, but he claims he doesn’t yet have a fan club. “There are no Vir Das-iacs or some other crap like that. But if I did have fans I think they’d be called the Not-Russell Peters fan club!”
Here the sharp-witted actor-comedian talking about various aspects of the celebrity life – and he pulls no punches.
1. TROLLS, YOU’VE BEEN MUTED
My social media notification feed goes from ‘Hey, I find you cute’ and ‘I liked your film’ to ‘Saale mar jaa’ and ‘Why did you do Mastizaade’. But I stand in front of 11,000 people and make an ass of myself for 90 minutes. That’s my job. What are you going to tell me that I haven’t already said about myself? But I never block a troll I just mute them. So they think they are geniuses and they are doing a great job at getting to me. But in reality I’m doing to you what you wish you could do to your spouse – mute!
2. YOUR STARDOM AIN’T REAL
Most celebrities wear sunglasses so that they can watch people watching them! Right after Delhi Belly when I suddenly became famous I used to be one of those actors who took a big team everywhere I went. It takes a while for you to realize that none of the stardom that follows is real. So now I deliberately reject fame and the trappings of being a celebrity.
It hit me one day when I had the airport staff escort me through all the queues. I looked around and thought to myself, ‘In this line there are probably people curing cancer, someone who runs an NGO, and here I am getting special treatment because I tell dick jokes?’ Something just felt wrong.
I kept asking them for my boarding pass but they refused, it’s like they had assumed that because I was famous I had suddenly forgotten how to board a flight myself!
3. CAN’T LAUGH A WOMAN INTO BED
I want to put it out there that the phrase Hasee toh Phasee is a lie. In all the years I have been doing stand-up, I have never laughed a woman into bed and neither have I managed to laugh her out of bed.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this but Brad Pitt has never needed to write a joke! Women say they want to date funny men, but the truth is they just want John Abraham.
4. THE PAPARAZZI WILL CLICK JUST ABOUT ANYTHING
When I had just got famous, I was walking my dog Watson near my house in Mumbai, which is close to where Rishi Kapoor lives. Two photographers showed up out of nowhere and started clicking pictures of me while Watson was taking a dump! Why would I picture of me walking my dog while he takes a dump be of interest to anyone?
The next minute, I realized that my dog had started walking towards the Kapoor family’s gate and I’m trying to turn him away because the last thing I want is for people to think I was making my dog shit outside celebrities gates!
5. STARDOM DOESN’T MATTER IN COMEDY
The main difference between being a comedian and an actor are your bank accounts! But jokes apart, they both utilize opposite parts of your brain. Acting is a collaborative process – hundreds of people are working to make you look good. With comedy you’re entirely on your own.
In comedy, the feedback is instant but with the movies you find out close to ten months later if you have made a piece of dog shit. Stardom doesn’t matter in comedy – they may show up because you’re famous but in two minutes they are going to be like ‘I don’t care if you’re famous. You make me laugh right now because I have paid a fuck load of money to be here.’
Watch the entire chat with Vir Das here: