Why Naveen Richard prefers the indie artist life

Naveen Richard has been away from the stage for a while — working his way through self-founded web series Better Life Foundation (BLF), Amazon Prime’s Pushpavalli and Star Boyz. And despite stints with networks like Comedy Central, he says the independent space is where he intends to stay. “It’s extremely freeing. We actually get to create (on our own terms),” says the Bengaluru-based comic.

He realised that shows like BLF and Star Boyz worked because they were examples of the best-case scenario: as creators, they had to exercise restraint over their own content. There will, however, be less of that restraint when he brings his comedy special to the CounterCulture Comedy Club in Chennai today.

Make it work

High off the success of his hour-long Amazon Prime comedy special, Don’t Make That Face, he joins the ranks of fellow young comics that’ve used the platform to leverage their opportunities and use it to innovate.

“There’s a sense of credibility there, and with YouTube being as crowded as it is now, a platform like Amazon really helps new audiences ‘discover’ you. It’s also a testament to your ability to deliver,” he explains.

Richard grew up in Coimbatore and visited the city so often. “Frankly, I started off here with Evam and the crowd’s only gotten more energetic and giving since then,” he says. While he tested out the full-time comic life in Mumbai with friends and fellow comedians Kenneth Sebastian, Biswa Kalyan Rath, and Kanan Gill, he says coming to Chennai is “just like coming home”.

Out of the comfort zone

It’s been a year since his last appearance in the city — a year rife with experiences equally cherished and challenging, as he puts it. “Writing, acting, producing a show — it’s enriching, but equally painful because of how long it takes and how much work goes into it. Stand-up’s so vibrant, so alive, but it’s also all you. No filter,” he says.

The instant gratification is both terrifying and thrilling, and while it’s only one of the things on Richard’s already full plate right now, he says what’s yet to come is some of his most exciting work yet. “I don’t want to jinx it by saying too much, largely because nothing’s set in stone yet. But whatever’s in development, I’m extremely excited about, and I can’t wait for you guys to see it all.”

Naveen Richard performs at CounterCulture Comedy Club’s ‘Saturday Specials’ event today at 8 pm. Tickets at ₹499 on in.bookmyshow.com.


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