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How Comedian Kenny Sebastian Started To Make Us Laugh His comedy prowess is seen in his Amazon Prime Video special, Don't be That Guy, along with the sci-fi comedy web series Starboyz on YouTube, and comedy Central's The Living Room.

By Kabir Singh Bhandari

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Kenny Sebastian

Kenny Sebastian is a proficient painter and sculptor. He also happens to be one of the most successful stand up comedians in India. After taking Computer Science in Class 11 and 12, since his father wanted him to, Sebastian did a painting degree in Bangalore. This allowed him to explore other options such as theatre and music, as the creative arts is what he was interested in.

Being in the college music band, he was part of the team that came to Mumbai for IIT's Mood Indigo Fest and also ended up taking part in a stand up comedy competition there, which he happened to win. The first prize was performing at the prestigious Comedy Store in Mumbai, which was hosted by Vir Das. Sebastian didn't understand the gravity of all this then. However, taking the prize money when he returned to Bangalore, the stand up bug had bitten him- he regularly peformed at open mics and once college got over was going everyday.

"Eventually I could quit my freelance job which was editing videos for corporates and then OML which was a management company in Bombay signed me on. This was the same time when Kanan and Biswa were also popping up in Bangalore. So yes, slowly but steadily stand up became a viable career. When we started it was just a bunch of us telling jokes to a very small audience and then soon we started touring. We got an Amazon special, did a world tour, did a Netflix special. I never thought starting 14 years ago that would be a judge in a comedy show on Amazon or have a fiction show on Amazon and have a special on Netflix. It is quite incredible. It happened very organically. I think that's the beauty of stand up. Your first intention has to be to entertain and be funny and everything kind of follows through," Sebastian told us.

A question which arises in the current scenario is the frenetically rising competition levels in comedy, with open mics taking place regularly and lots of people trying their hand at it. When asked about this, Sebastian says 'define competition.' "I think the goal of every comedian should be to get their audience to come to their live show. And the amazing icing on the cake is that they like your style and comedy. That is something which is so subjective- you can't expect everybody to like your style of comedy. Even though I'm a very clean comic and I do observational comedy in English, there is still a niche for it. But if there's another person who likes to listen to jokes in Malayalam and likes more, edgy, dark political humor, I'm not that person for them. And there's nothing wrong with that. So I feel competition isn't there, to answer your question, because the beauty of standup is it's one of the few fields which encourages you to be unique and different. And if you're unique and different and you enjoy doing that, your audience will find you. And that is I think the best definition of success in stand up. So in that case, you don't have competition because there's no one else like you," Sebastian says, giving a refreshing viewpoint on the matter.

And successful he certainly is- last year he performed in 65 cities across the world, selling around 50,000 tickets. And he couldn't even cover the Southeast Asia region as he was exhausted and missing home. Next time the world tour will be even grander, with him covering all the continents.

And for those who haven't experienced his humour yet, his comedy prowess is seen in his Amazon Prime Video special, Don't be That Guy, along with the sci-fi comedy web series Starboyz on YouTube, and comedy Central's The Living Room. He's also co-written and acted in 'Sketchy Behaviour' (Amazon Prime Video) alongside Kanan Gill. Having worked with multiple brands such as Google, KFC and Spotify to name a few, the 33-year-old has another special ready, but whether it shall come out on an OTT platform or elsewhere is a call he shall take at a later date.

The author can be reached at and

Kabir Singh Bhandari

Former Senior Assistant Editor

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