Published on September 28th, 20121
There’s a comedian in the (hospital) building
Stand up comic PapaCJ is visiting the country’s hospitals and making patients go BWAHAHAHAHA
By The Editors/ email@example.com
You’re lying miserably on your hospital bed on a Sunday, your broken leg inside a cast, staring at a flaky ceiling and wishing you could hide in the ward boy’s laundry basket and make your way to freedom. But you can’t, so you must continue staring at the ceiling, wishing you could hide in the ward boy’s laundry basket and make your way to freedom.
It goes on. Hospitals really suck. Even the ward boy’s laundry basket is a foolish contraption that would fall apart if a kitten hid in it. You look down the rows of beds next to you, and you note that each patient is eyeing the laundry basket with distaste.
And then the good doctor tells you that somebody’s going to come along and entertain you soon.
“Sure,” you think. “This means that I’m going to have my blood taken by an intern who will poke about my arm looking for a vein till I have no arm left.” But instead of an intern, in walks a good-looking, long-haired, big-grinning PapaCJ.
And he starts to tell jokes. He doesn’t patronise. He doesn’t joke about people’s suffering. He doesn’t do ‘non-veg’ stuff. Soon you’re grinning. The pain in your leg, about to make its presence felt, pipes down. He does impressions. He tells it like it is, only he makes it ten times funnier. If your leg allowed it, you would be running around the room, laughing hard.
Why he does it
PapaCJ, noted stand up comic and humour writer, thought of presenting his acts in front of a hospital audience “just one day” last month. “I do lots of shows where I make people laugh, because I genuinely love to make people laugh,” he tells us. “I am in the ‘happiness business’, and I truly believe that laughter does heal.”
His bright idea is called The Best Medicine. He explains, “Hospitals are really depressing places. The white tubelights, the smell of medicine, the constant aches and pains and other suffering. I thought, ‘Why not let patients laugh and have fun?’ From a comedian’s point of view, it’s a privilege doing shows like this, where your only payment is in the form of blessings.”
For starters, CJ wrote to the wife of chairperson and managing director of Medicity Dr Naresh Trehan (Padma Shri). “She was very welcoming of the idea, and I had a meeting with Medicity’s HODs to figure out which patients could benefit from the exercise and how to do the entire thing. I am open to showing up and speaking in any hospital in the country, any random medical centre that wants me to do this,” he says. CJ will perform on any Sunday, totally free of cost. “I only want my travel expenses covered. There is no charge for performing,” he says.
A few of his friends from New York, he says, were very excited about the idea and wanted to come down and perform. “But there was no way to take care of their travel expenses. However, I’m speaking to my colleagues here who can also take this up.” He says there was a call for him to perform in a Kashmir hospital as well.
What kind of jokes?
“No material that is offensive or which jokes about what is troubling patients will be allowed,” he says firmly. “It’s about making people feel better about themselves. Laughter has such a big impact on people, it makes a big difference physically and mentally. Patients are regular people, too. They deserve a laugh as much as anyone.”
Help set up a showCJ doesn’t have a publicist or a PR machinery backing him, and not knowing too many people in the hospital industry is a big concern. “I want to spread the word that I am available for doing this. There is a lot of red tape you need to cross if you approach hospitals directly. I am hoping that I get the word across and cover as many hospitals as I can.”
Do you know anyone working at a hospital? Help CJ put up a show by recommending him. CJ can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org