Home Life Experience Q&A with Papa CJ

Q&A with Papa CJ


Hailed by Forbes Magazine as ‘the global face of Indian stand-up’, Papa CJ is an award-winning, world-renowned international stand-up comedian. He has performed over 2000 shows in over 25 countries across the world, and as per the Harvard Business Review is ‘one of the most influential comedians around the world’. He holds an MBA degree from the University of Oxford and is an experienced motivational speaker. He has been invited to speak at Harvard University and the University of Oxford.

Some of his lesser known achievements include being a corporate coach, having trained employees at over 50 blue-chip companies globally; he also consults with brands on concepts and content strategy; and his pet project is his initiative called The Happiness Project, whereby he performs in support of charitable causes across the world. His maiden book, an autobiography titled ‘Naked’, was launched at the Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2020 and has met with excellent reviews all around. We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about how he came to find his calling in the world of comedy.

Growing up in India, do you recall how you first became familiar with the art of stand-up comedy?

I was exposed to stand-up comedy in the UK. After completing my MBA degree from the University of Oxford I took a job as a management consultant in London. After 3 years in that job I had paid back my loans and so I took a one-year sabbatical. During that year off I went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and saw stand-up comedy for the first time. I loved what I saw and three months later I took to the stage for the first time. I did 700 shows across the UK in my first 3 years and have never looked back since.

When did you start to think of it as a career option?

Stand-up comedy in the UK was great for learning the craft but I had to take up jobs on the side to be able to support myself. I moved back to India in early 2008 and did my first multi-city India tour that year. In early 2009, I started the English language comedy circuit in Delhi and slowly English language comedy began to enter the popular conscience. However, I’d say it took till 2011 for me to earn enough to be able to legitimately call stand-up a career option.

Read the full article here in our July 2020 issue.

Career Ahead offers a view into the real-life experiences of accomplished individuals from all arenas. The magazine also features first-hand insights into student life along with career tips, inspiration, and relevant news for young people and professionals.


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