Seated coolly in his empty new office, an old Portuguese bungalow turned into a work space in Mumbai’s sleepy neighbourhood, Chuim Village, Vir Das meets the press for interviews following his International Emmy Award win. He has big plans with his comedy company ‘Weirdass Comedy’ and wants to get back to acting.
In this interview with indiaexpress.com, the stand-up comedian shares how he turns the ‘loud’ hate and love he keeps receiving on social media into a joke, because “all’s well that ends well”.
Vir says he has received calls and messages from people calling his International Emmy Award win a “personal victory”. A few days before winning the award, Vir was a part of Indian Express Adda along with actors Shefali Shah and Jim Sharbh, discussing the evolving scene of OTT in India and their Emmy nominations. When asked what was his fist emotion when his name was announced as a winner at the Emmy Awards ceremony, he says, “I don’t remember anything, I am being very honest with you. I think I said it at the Indian Express Adda as well that I was up against a massive category, it is a nice category which allows small fries like me to punch above our weight.”
He adds that he wasn’t expecting the award, but was there to cheer for Shefali Shah. “I am the only comedy special (Vir Das: Landing) but Derry Girls and this Argentinian show are massive. Hundreds of people work on it and it costs a lot of money. So it is not like an actor against an actor. When they said there’s a tie, statistically the odds of that happening are rare because how their system works. They have six to seven regions across the world and thousands of submissions coming from every region, then they are narrowed to the top jurors and these jurors watch every piece of content from every region and then they vote. So me and Derry Girls getting the same amount of votes is statistically a very rare thing that happened. When I saw there were two envelopes, that’s the only time I thought that I had a chance because otherwise I was there to cheer for Shefali Shah, who I thought was definitely going to win. And after that I don’t remember anything.”
Vir has been around for almost two decades. After beginning a career in stand-up comedy, he had shifted his gears to acting in Hindi films and went on to star in films like Badmaash Company (2010), Delhi Belly (2011) Go Goa Gone (2013) among others. He has acted in eighteen films and is now all set to get back to it.
Talking about his new office, and his future projects which include co-directing and acting in a feature film, he says, “Now we have a new office. I’ll be directing a feature and co-running a show soon and also star in a feature, so this space will serve as a production space for both of these projects.”
“I just wrapped up a series with Amazon, and one with Applause, so it’s been an acting year. I’ll be acting more from this point on. But it has to really be special because stand-up is really fun. If I am going to take three months off on an acting goal then it has to be really special to compete with stand-up. Now one is able to bring an audience on the table, one is being able to create the work that one is acting in a little bit as well,” he adds.
While the whole of the country is celebrating Vir’s International Emmy Award win, there was a time he was labelled a traitor to his nation and was involved in the biggest controversy of his career on the heels of his Two Indias video. When asked if that negative noise matters to him today, he said, it’ll all end up becoming one of his jokes. He said, “Look, all’s well that ends well and the best end for it is to be a joke. I am in a profession where the best day in your life and the worst day in your life has the same outcome, that they are going to become a joke eventually. The darker moment in your life and the happiest moment in your life will all be a joke anyway. So, I am going to write about the Emmy award very soon as well. This big International Emmy award, which I am very grateful for, will become a joke.”
Vir has experienced highs and lows in his career, he revealed that he had to become an actor to be able to make a name for himself and to build an audience. However, Vir says, because of accessibility and acceptance, it is the best time to be a comedian.
“There’s never going to be a better time to be a comedian than right now. A new comic can go to Habitat, do give minutes, put it up on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube and get thirty million views and suddenly eight hundred people can show up for a show. We had to do a movie so somebody would know what our name was so they could come and see us do stand-up comedy. And to do a movie there was a studio, a producer… right now there is no middle man between me and my audience. If I go anywhere it’s because the audience for me there. And when I win something, the audience won it with me. So it is really a great time to be a comedian,” Vir concludes.