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Fourth guest on the Play to Potential Podcast series is Papa CJ. Papa CJ is a world-renowned stand-up comedian. He has won awards for both Asia’s and India’s Best Stand-up Comedian. Forbes Magazine called him ‘the global face of Indian stand-up’ and Toastmaster International called him one of the most influential comedians around the world.

He has performed over 2000 shows across five continents. His work has been broadcast on NBC, BBC, Comedy Central, Showtime, MTV, Paramount, The Comedy Channel, ITV and a host of other international networks. He taped a Showtime USA Stand-up Comedy Special with Russell Peters in Amsterdam and in the American TV show Last Comic Standing, he was adjudged one of the top ten acts from over 3000 contestants across the world.

Papa CJ holds an MBA degree from the University of Oxford and is a former Management Consultant. He frequently works with companies and educational institutions as a motivational speaker and executive coach. He has coached executives from over 50 blue-chip companies all over the world including Nike, Google & UBS in Europe, Deutsche Bank, Accenture & E&Y in USA, Universal Music and BBC in the UK and Unilever and HSBC in Asia.

This conversation was published around January 2017.

Why "Naked"?

One might think that the world of standup comedy and the corporate milieu would be miles apart! Hear Papa CJ talk about his transition from being a consultant to an award winning standup comedian. His show ‘Naked’ talks about all our common vulnerabilities and the ‘brick walls’ we build around ourselves that may prevent us from growing. He tries to reach out to all of us who might be comfortably complacent in our comfort zones.

Oxford MBA-Consulting-Stand-up

Son of a tea planter, Papa CJ took the predictable path through school and college. Hear him walk us through his early struggles which led to him maneuvering into the challenging and non trivial transition from Oxford, to consulting, to doing 250 standup comedy shows in his first 10 months! Look out for tips on leveraging the asset of relationships that we all have.

Plunging into Stand-Up

“If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.” Hear how Papa CJ took the plunge into the gruelling yet satisfying world of stand-up comedy. A mix of conviction, grit, pragmatism, sacrifice and passion helped him make this journey. This nugget gives us an insight into planning and being prepared for transitions.

Stand-Up: Unknown Unknowns

Think you need to know all about a career before you dive right in? Not necessarily! Papa CJ talks about how the world of stand up was a blank slate for him and all he had was his excitement and eagerness to pursue it. Sometimes all it needs is the drive and the resilience. Hint: Look out for what makes stand-up comedy the one profession where ‘failure is the only way to succeed’ according to Papa CJ.

Stand-Up: What it takes

“Find the balance to feed your stomach and feed your soul”: that’s the mantra for delivering to your potential, according to Papa CJ. In this nugget he talks about the qualities of being a good stand-up comedian and how these requirements actually transcend profession and time. Listen on to find tips to harness the true power of your potential.

Lessons from a journey in Stand-Up

In this fast paced, interconnected world around us, we often have less time and space to think quietly and listen to our inner voice. In this nugget, Papa CJ shares his perspectives around preparing for success and how one needs to grow in the dark so as to play to potential.

Role of Vulnerability in building Trust

Why is vulnerability one of the key elements in building any relationship? Why is it especially so important now when our world seems to be awash with picture perfect Facebook posts? Hear Papa CJ tackle this question. Hint: Watch out for an amazing tip about finding that fountain of confidence that we all seek!

What Corporates could learn from Stand-Up

A stand up comedian is also a brand that provides services worldwide. So what can the world of business learn from the world of stand up comedy? Papa CJ draws parallels between these two seemingly starkly different realms. Watch out for the anecdote on heckling and its comparison with dealing with feedback.

3 things they don’t teach you in B-school

“The cost of our dreams is much lower than we think it is in our heads!” Using this profound thought Papa CJ discusses what business schools don’t teach us. Don’t miss the part about the three things that constitute happiness!

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