Interview with comedian Rajiv Karia

"At my first Glastonbury, I slept in a one room tent with two mates. At my first Edinburgh, I slept on a yoga mat with no pillow all month and shared a room with four boys. So I guess other festivals have better sleeping conditions."

Interview with comedian Rajiv Karia

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

Hi, I’m Rajiv. What’s your name? Write into Voice Magazine and tell me. Don’t read on until you’ve done so!

How would you describe your show?

Gallivant is a fun show about looking at the life you live and contrasting it with the life you thought you’d live. It’s full of irreverent observations, social commentary and silly gags, and a very passionate section about Pret. 

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

The Edinburgh Fringe is like Disneyland for adults. Well adults who love comedy and/or drinking. 

What differentiates it from other festivals?

At my first Glastonbury, I slept in a one room tent with two mates. At my first Edinburgh, I slept on a yoga mat with no pillow all month and shared a room with four boys. So I guess other festivals have better sleeping conditions. 

What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations?

I guess the earliest influences in comedy were Black Books, Simon Amstell, Friends, Bill Bailey and the Monkey Island video games. Then when I got to uni and had no interest in my degree. 

How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career? 

I’d never even heard of Edinburgh Fringe before uni. But I joined a university sketch group and they invited me to be in an Edinburgh show. So if I hadn’t gone to that uni, I would never have gone into comedy. I’d probably be a dentist or something – really content, rich and in possession of thousands of stolen teeth. 

What is your earliest childhood art memory?

The Jungle Book. Infinite afternoons rewatching it with my brother and sister. Shere Khan was so scary, to this day, I can’t be in a room with a tiger. 

If you didn’t have your current job, what would you probably be doing?

I’d be a project manager for a multi-national trading conglomerate.

Did Covid-19 change the way you create work? Do you approach shows with a different mentality now? 

Covid made me realise that you shouldn’t wait for anything in comedy – just get it yourself. Make it yourself – do it now. I’m still trying to put that advice into full action, but I’m constantly inspired by peers who do it all the time. 

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?

Ate big avocado on holiday.

Do you subscribe to the idea that art should be exempt from ‘cancel culture’? 

Yet to see an example of “cancel culture” ending a comedian’s livelihood, so it probably already is. 

If you could work with anybody, from any point in history, who would you pick and why?

I would travel back to 1973 and convince Harry Nilsson to record a comedy album so bad that it destroys his career and convinces a young Weird Al Yankovic to give up an become an actuary instead. Then I’d go find Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little and bribe them so I could have a line in Blazing Saddles. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a show up to the fringe?

Do it. Bring friends if you like. If you haven’t got friends, bring those guys you hate from the open mic. Flyer the hell out of it. Treat a tiny crowd like it’s a full room. Convince yourself you’re going to move to Edinburgh. Change your mind. Develop an addiction to macaroni pies. 

When and where can people see your show?

I’m on the Pleasance Courtyard from the 3rd August. 4.25 in Bunker 2.  

And where can people find, follow and like you online?

I’m @RajivKaria on Instagram and @RajivAKaria on Twitter. 


See Rajiv Karia: Gallivant at the Pleasance during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 3-28 August. For more information and tickets visit www.edfringe.com or www.pleasance.co.uk

Header Image Credit: Matt Stronge

Author

Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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