Abhineet Mishra’s act was successful in drawing the attention of people towards the serious issue of illegal coal mining in Meghalaya and the trapped miners in East Jaintia Hills
Shillong native and popular stand-up comedian Abhineet Mishra has time and again spoken about Northeast and tried to deliver strong messages in a subtle and funny way.
But on January 6th, 2019, when he presented an incredibly powerful stand, the nation took notice for it and was successful in drawing the attention of people towards the serious issue of illegal coal mining in Meghalaya and the trapped miners in East Jaintia Hills.
In a video uploaded in his YouTube channel, Abhineet takes a jibe at the concerned authorities and the government for its apathetic approach in rescuing 15 miners trapped in an illegal coal pit in East Jaintia Hills since December 13, 2018. Abhineet, in his six-minute long video clip, highlighted the lack of coverage of the Northeastern region by the mainstream media.
The video starts with a disclaimer that the act is “not comedy” and it’s not been performed in front of a live audience as is the norm for most comic sets.
Abhineet started his comic journey two years back. His first act was at Canvas Laugh Club in Mumbai and since then the stage became his home as he went on to win a couple of open mic events.
In a repartee with Pranati Sinha, Abhineet shares anecdotes about his journey from being a journalist to choosing comedy, Northeast, favourite comics and many more. Read on…
- How did you come up with the act on the trapped Meghalaya miners?
Abhineet: It (January 6th, 2019) was my birthday. While I was eating breakfast, the news channel in the background mentioned about a man wanting to dive into the mine to save his son. Not sure why, but it triggered a strange emotion of anger and pain inside me. I decided to make the video, not with the intent or thought of it going viral. I wanted to feel happy that I answered my conscience.
Truth must be told; virality matters when I put out a stand-up comedy video. I am a stand-up comedian and that’s my bread and butter. This video, however, wasn’t comedy as much as it was a channel to voice a citizen’s frustration against the collective apathy of the media, government and society in general.
- Tell us something about your journey as a stand-up comedian
Abhineet: I started comedy in 2016. I just wanted to be on stage… it could have been theatre or drama too, but, it had to be comedy and I am glad it turned out that way. Won a few open mics, thought I belonged to the scene.
- Tell us something about your acts…
Abhineet: I generally focus on observational and anecdotal forms of stand-up comedy. I generally, like seeing the funny side of things. I do, however, have an inclination to project social issues and politics through my art. That is the essence of stand-up comedy – standing up for what you believe in.
- The most special show till date…
Abhineet: The show at the Canvas Laugh Club, Mumbai will always be the most special. That’s where I began. In fact, most stand-up comedians today took their first steps on that stage. It has for long been the Mecca for stand-up comedy.
- Your Facebook bio reads you were a journalist
Abhineet: Yes I worked with The Indian Express and The Times of India for three years. I was also a news reader for a media house in Shillong during my graduation years.
- What is the scenario of stand-up comedy in the Northeast?
Abhineet: There is incredible talent here. Even the audience is opening up to the scene. The future is very promising. Folks from Northeast have an innate sense of humour and receive comedy with unbridled openness.
- Is audience opening up to comic acts on social issues?
Abhineet: Yes, they are. If the audience identifies with your intent and message, they will accept what you are creating and putting out to them.
- Where do the ideas come from?
Abhineet: Ideas walk up to you as long as you keep the eye open for observation. Some jokes write themselves, some you need to write.
- If not a stand-up comedian
Abhineet: Would have knocked on the doors of theatre, drama or films.
- Your role models
Abhineet: In comedy, Nishant Tanwar, Aditi Mittal and Abijit Ganguly. Among the best comedians in the country, they are also some of the best human beings supporting new talent in the space.
- Acts of other stand-up comedians which you like
Abhineet: I am a big fan of Hannah Gadsby and Trevor Noah.
- Top 5 favourite comics
Abhineet: Tough to have a top 5 – Hannah Gadsby, Trevor Noah, Nishant Tanwar, Aditi Mittal, Abijit Ganguly, Abhishek Upmanyu and the genius George Carlin.