-The Esquire 100 - Nitin Mirani
We first became aware of Nitin Mirani nearly a decade ago when he made us laugh in Ali F. Mostafa’s City Of Life.
Over time we have seen him grow to share the stage with some of the world’s leading comedians, including Eddie Griffin, Trevor Noah and Marlon Wayans, and even making the shortlist of the Laugh Factory’s “Funniest Person in the World” global contest.
Here, he tells Esquire Middle East of his worst gig experience…
The first time I performed at the legendary Edinburgh Fringe Festival is an experience that will stay with me. On the day of the show most performers go out on the street to hand out flyers to drum up excitement for their gig.
It mainly involves chatting to people and convincing them to attend the show, even throwing in a few jokes to help them decide.
One of the days I was out there hustling before my show and I managed to convince a group of people to attend. They walked into the venue, which was the basement of a Mexican restaurant called Chiquito, but while I went to prepare they sneaked out. When I came out there was only one person in the audience. It was like a punch in the gut as I have been used to performing to sold-out venues in Dubai. It took me a few minutes to compose myself and told myself that “it’s not how many seats you fill, it’s what you do with the filled seats”.
I started the show as if I was performing to a full house, and after 15 minutes of performing to one guy, another group of five walked in and sat down. I ended the show with some improv comedy and got a few claps. I then went on to pass my bucket around for tips – I got enough to buy myself a burger and a soda and was feeling pretty dejected.
The next morning my roommate woke me up by handing me a local paper with the front-page headline: Boundless optimism keeps acts going. I later found out that the only guy in the audience was actually a reviewer from the Edinburgh Evening News.
Thanks to the review, the next few performances had a great turn out and I had a rather successful run at the Fringe. To this day the phrase “Boundless Optimism” keeps me going.