From banking to comedy: Vikram Poddar knows that laughter is a serious business
The slowdown of 2009 changed his outlook towards life.
For Vikram Poddar is a typical South Mumbai boy who once bore the brunt of the 2008 recession. And can now crack jokes about it without hesitation, and regrets.
And while hindsight does bring clarity to most actions in life, the banker-turned-comedian insists that he has no regrets - including being laid off from a consulting firm in 2009 - about his life trajectory.
“After I got the pink slip, I had a lot of free time. I was always interested in public speaking, and decided to pursue it when I could,” Poddar, says, on the sidelines of the ET Markets Global Summit in Mumbai.
Seeing Poddar in action on stage one would tend to forget that he had a non-comic avatar at some point in life. And while he himself says that his regular Marwari family found it hard to come to terms with his new-found calling in life, they are now more relaxed about it,
“Even today, sometimes my family finds it tough to adjust to ‘this’ me as they have seen a very serious side of me. But like a true Gemini, I know that I have a different persona when am on stage,” he quips.
For Poddar, laughter is a serious business, though. Through his company, BoredRoom Comedy, he (and his team) also conducts motivational workshops, entertainment modules for corporate clients helping them look at employee engagement through humour.
And because he has been on the other side of the fence - stints with Avalon Consulting and Prudential - he, in a way, gets the pulse of the audience. That explains why half of his 20-minute gig at a packed Taj Lands End was devoted to the Human Resource (HR) department and the problems that most employees face when they join a new outfit.
But digs at HR apart, the 35-year-old Poddar, through wit and dry humour also makes the natural habitat a part of his laughter line-up. Little surprise then rising crude prices, Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya and Government policies find mention.
As the lights come back, Poddar exits the stage, and is back in the audience, explaining some of his one-liners (“Indian parents treat their kids like Special Purpose Vehicles!”) to a serious corporate audience.
And once he starts talking, he has their attention. Just like he did on stage, where investment banking and comedy met and matched.