Making someone laugh is no easy task. For anyone inclined to comedy, getting any kind of reaction to their jokes can be immensely satisfying. Our featured guest today is the young and super talented viral comedienne from Nagaland – Merenla Imsong – who has effortlessly tickled our funny bones with her honest and engaging content. She attained her social media star status in March last year when her home video titled ‘Presumptuous chinky assumes the North Indian way‘ went viral on YouTube – It’s currently sitting at over 200,000 views!
Many of us who are working and living outside of our hometowns, regardless of where we come from, have undoubtedly faced similar presumptions as her famous alter-ego Pinky Singh. So, it’s no surprise that her many characters and “Vegg ya Non-Vegg” videos hit us at our funniest and most relatable spots.
We sat down with the rising comedy star – Merenla Imsong – to find out what exactly tickles her funny bones, her comedy inspirations and how she conceptualized her first viral video and more.
It’s so good to have you with us Merenla! Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
My name is Merenla Imsong and I am currently living in Mumbai. I grew up in Kohima, Nagaland and moved to New Delhi when I was 18. I wanted to be a scientist but somehow ended up becoming a comedian and actor 😀
Now that you’ve made a good handful of viral content, tell us how your first video came about and the story behind it?
My videos are more or less a reflection of myself – what I pick up from all the things and people I see and experience around me. My first video was quite accidental. I was switching between a fake American accent and a typical Kohima girl and my cousin happened to record it. He then sent it to his cousins and in two to three days many more people were sharing it with their friends. So, I figured I could make a Facebook page and upload some funny videos.
“I got onto YouTube and Instagram much later. The first YouTube video I made picked up a lot of traction on national media and the comment section was split in half. I made the video because the idea made me chuckle but a lot of people read too much into it and dissected it but I guess that’s unavoidable and is how the internet works these days.”
What is your process of making these videos? Do you work with a team or are you a one-woman production house?
I just make videos on whatever topics comes to my mind . I have a lot of unfinished ideas that I work on for weeks at a stretch only to give up on them sometimes. But then there are those instances that the most random things come to mind at the most unexpected time – like while I’m in the shower, traveling through the city in an auto-rickshaw or even while buying veggies. I don’t really have a process and I don’t have a team. When an idea comes to me I make the video by myself and with my own vision!
How have your roots influenced your stand-up comedy career?
Each of my stand up sets revolve around my identity as a Naga. Before I go up on stage I am ‘that Northeastern girl in the line up’ and after I do what I’m there to do, I am ‘that female comedian from Nagaland.’
“BFFs and self-styled fashion experts from Nagaland weigh in on the sartorial choices at the Met Gala” by Meren Imsong [a glimpse into the various Naga accents – a common joke topic amongst the youngsters in Nagaland]
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Is stand-up and comedy your full-time profession?
I quit my full-time job a couple of years ago to focus on theatre and comedy. There are those occasional ad-films that I get to act in which happen in between that definitely helps with paying rent.
Merenla Imsong among the rising stand-up comedians in Delhi
Merenla Imsong Performing at the Startup and Entrepreneurship Conclave in Assam
Merenla performing her Stand-up set during Miss Nagaland
What’s your creative philosophy and where do you take inspiration from?
I try to let ideas flow without any agenda. I am not here to make any public service announcements and obviously, the last thing I want to do is act like a preachy comedian giving life advice. For me, inspiration can come from anything… Sometimes an idea hits you when you least expect it and then there are days when I stare blankly at my notebook for hours. There really is no structure… Or if there is, I guess I’m still figuring it out.
“The Art Of Leafing” by Merenla Imsong 😀
What do you hope people take away from your videos?
“I hope people are entertained, and the day my videos stop having any meaning I hope they start complaining so that would make me want to pull up my socks and work harder.”
Battle of the Kohima Divas by Merenla Imsong
What have you been working on? What’s your next video going to be about?
I’m currently working simultaneously on three ideas that are going rather slowly. I am also currently writing a new 8 minute set for a show next week and hope to get a controversial set of concept videos of my own filmed simultaneously.
‘Presumptuous chinky assumes the North Indian way’ by Merenla Imsong has over 200,000 views on YouTube. Get your dose of the giggles from her page on Instagram and subscribe to her YouTube channel to make sure you don’t miss her latest uploads.
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