Penning down a memoir invites readers to experience a life that is not theirs. Award-winning international stand-up comedian, Papa CJ’s bare-all memoir by Westland Publications-based on and named after his global hit show, Naked —traces the comedian’s life-story from the streets of Calcutta to the University of Oxford. It also has ample anecdotes, in true CJ style, of the stages he’s performed on across the world.
The ace comedian, who’s done over 2,000 shows in 25 countries, is all set for another performance and a signing of his book for fans at Karma Lounge in the city on Friday. This, however, isn’t Papa CJ’s first time to Hyderabad.
The comedian sharing his most recent memory of performing in Hyderabad, says, “I remember performing to a mixed crowd of expats and Indians recently. I was to do a 40-minute show, but every time I tried to get off the stage, they’d ask for more. I ended up doing an hour-and-ten minute-long show.”
Then talking about his journey of being a stand-up comic to becoming an author, the MBA from the University of Oxford says, “Authoring a book gave me a different joy. For a stand-up comedy show, I need to remove every extra word to get to the punchline as soon as possible. Naked, however, allowed me the luxury of putting in many more interesting anecdotes that I believe will make for a richer reading experience. The book has four times the content of a show, built on stage performances. So, it offers readers both the punchiness of stand-up comedy and the rich anecdotes from life.”
An open book
Interestingly, the book uses his life as the vehicle to talk about his experiences. His publisher saw his autobiographical world-tour show of Naked and thought it’d make for a great book, he shares. Then asserting that the book is a light and easy read, Papa CJ elaborates his reasons for the book. “The ethos behind the name ‘Naked’ is that as human beings we build walls around ourselves, hiding our deepest hopes and fears and desires. As this book progresses, I remove these walls and expose all my vulnerabilities and pains. At the end, when I’m completely naked, I’m completely free. Hopefully, when the book ends, it’ll give readers a new lens through which to look at their own lives. The most fun Papa CJ had while writing the book was penning its early chapters. “I wrote about my childhood and school and college days. That required me to go back in time and relive all those fun memories. It not only brought me laughter and joy but also got me to reconnect with long-lost childhood friends,” he concludes.