Alex in Crazy Land: Tribute to a comic genius

Tribute to Crazy Mohan

Stand-up comic Alexander speaks fondly of being inspired by the late Crazy Mohan's comedy which set him on the path to pursue his passion.

I watched Crazy Mohan live for the first time when I was a student at Guindy Engineering College. I used to be the clown within our gang in those days, fooling around and punning on words. Watching Crazy Mohan and his characters doing my kind of comedy on stage and getting huge applause and laughter was unbelievable. The comedian in me longed to be with them on stage.  That evening, Crazy Mohan addressed the students, and boy, that impromptu talk was quite a class act in itself. When he declared that he too had studied engineering right there in our college, I was thrilled. I figured I was in the right place.

Role model in many ways

Crazy Mohan and his characters could do those absurd jokes with full conviction. Without that conviction, those would have fallen flat. Without realizing, I learnt a beautiful lesson – the importance of doing anything with full conviction. You would see Crazy Mohan’s dialogues working like magic with people like Kamal Haasan, but that magic sometimes would be missing with others –  the conviction and synergy is what makes the difference. You have to go into his crazy world to enjoy his humor. We are so blessed that he has created such a huge body of work for us to cherish.

His simplicity was always fascinating. His spiritual inclination was another pull for me. He seemed to be at peace, trusting the bigger power always.

Post Guindy, I went to the US for a Masters, then came back to work here and dabble in the arts. Fifteen years later, I watched Crazy Mohan live again. After the play, I went backstage with the intention of talking to him. But I just could not gather the courage to approach him, instead I watched him talk to other people. I talked to Madhu, his brother and said I want to join them. His response was “Oh yes. Come. Come.”. That’s all. I was stunned. In my mind I was thinking “What!!? You don’t even know what I can do!” They were so approachable. I asked for more details and he said “We will travel often though,with your job it may be difficult”. As I was not in a position to make that commitment at that time, I quietly went back to work the next day.

A catalyst

At 40, I figured I simply had to pursue my passion, even if only for a short while. I wanted to take a sabbatical and live like Crazy Mohan for one or two years and get back to reality. God willing, I could continue down that path. I switched careers from software to stand up comedy and Crazy Mohan was one of the key inspirations and reasons to trust this path.

Touring for the past one and half years with my first solo show Alex in Wonderland, I say in the first act of the show, how I always wanted to be a Crazy Mohan and I always get applause for it. Crazy is quite a superstar that way; you get an applause just for mentioning his name.

Coincidentally, it was only last week that I talked to actor Kavidalaya Krishnan and expressed my interest to invite Crazy Mohan and the team for my show on July 13th. Krishnan sir promised that they would be glad to come and we made plans. But God had other plans.  

Stay crazy, stay happy!

Crazy Mohan has left us too soon. It hurts to think about it – the loss will be felt deeply by each one of us who grew up watching him and laughing with him. Selfishly, I regret that I did not get a chance to perform in front of him. But we can all pray for his soul to be in a super happy place, and carry within us that child-like bliss that he epitomized. Our world would be a good place if we carry that craziness, silliness and lightness around us. Goodbye, Crazy sir!

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About Alexander Babu 1 Article
Alexander Babu is an engineer turned stand up comedian from Chennai. He tweets at @iLikeSlander. He can also be found on Facebook and Instagram, with the same handle.

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