José Covaco Is Not a Standup Comic, but He’s One of the Funniest People on the Indian Internet
José Covaco is hilarious and nuts, and there’s proof of both all over the internet. Here is a quick round-up of everything he’s up to right now, so you know what to follow and why.
Covaco used to be a radio jockey at Red FM. Then video killed the radio star in 2008, when he joined MTV India and quickly became their newest, most popular VJ. In 2014, he released his debut book, Ladies, Please! Dating Truths By A Man. When the book didn’t win him any awards or favours (“it was a hot pile of trash, we didn’t even do a spell check on it, my god”), he showed everyone what’s what by turning into a giant “social media sensation”.
“Don’t call me that!” Covaco pleads. We finally have him on the phone after 800 weeks of trying, we’re happy to call him whatever he wants. (Turns out, he has no idea what he wants. Moving on…)
“Vine changed the way we made content,” he explains, crediting the second wave of his social media boost to the short-form-video-hosting service that allowed users to create and share six-second-long clips on loop. “When it first came out, it wasn’t the final version—to shoot and stitch three clips together into a six-second video was a very precise, meticulous process that I found extremely challenging. And that was the kick.” Even now, his wildly popular videos follow the Vine-style of editing:
It includes things mainstream media will never show you, like this behind-the-scenes auction for the limited edition Arvind Kejriwal pe phekha hula red chilli powder…
…what really happened with that shoe-throwing episode with Nawaz Sharif:
…and in which he asks PM Modi a burning question in collaboration with PeeingHuman:
Others are one take wonders, like the time he broke up with Dua Lipa on his shoe phone:
And a more labour-intensive PSA on potholes:
Forget it, here’s all of them:
Between radio and MTV, he also kickstarted his series of Misheard Lyrics. “This was the first thing that put me out there apart from MTV,” he thinks out loud.
When he took a break from the radio, where Covaco (mis)heard music all day long, the series slowed down. “The thing with misheard lyrics is if you try to do it, if you go out looking for it, you won’t find any…they have to come to you… so if I wasn’t hearing anything, it was not being supplied to my ears, what would I put out? So I didn’t stop, I just wasn’t doing it as often.”
But popular demand is popular and also demanding, and so last year, he opened it up as “a hotline for songs YOU misheard”, which means now he’s also open to fan contributions.
“I get hundreds of suggestions!” he exclaims. “All of them are not spot on, but always at least 25 are really good. So I put it on a Google document. If you have anything you’ve heard, tell me exactly what time in the song. I’ll make video and give you credit. Now I’m at some 500 submissions trying to get rid of the backlog.”
We talk about his stiffest competition: Chloé. Three years ago, he introduced us to his daughter who immediately won hearts because… gah, just look at her!
He can often be found negotiating everyday things with her (bedtime, dinnertime, playtime) on Instagram stories, which is hilarious and adorable, and it’s also his cheat code—all he has to do is switch on the camera when she’s monkeying around, and he wins the internet for the day. “My daughter will be earning her education by being on Instagram…” he has decided.
YouTube & TV
When she’s sleeping, and he has to make some serious cash money, however, Covaco has to get down to some real work (which looks nothing like work, but that’s just because he’s pro AF). “All revenue now comes from social media, specifically from brand collaborations. They come to me with what they want to promote, and I get back to them with an idea, which they then figure the execution for.”
Though there’s also this entirely unsponsored reminder to check your PayBack points, complete with a giveaway:
He wants his YouTube channel to focus now on genuinely reviewing nonsense, with his character McBc, who reviews gadgets, like OnePlus 6 and the OnePlus 6T:
Real reviews that mock reviews in general. He wants to do more of these. As soon as he’s done with MTV, we assume, where he’s currently hosting a show MTV Anti-Social with fellow funnyman and former MTV VJ, Cyrus Sahukar.
Podcast: Kaan Masti
Then finally, there is his podcast Kaan Masti, now in its fifth season with actor and comedian Suresh Menon. “It started five years ago at the radio station. In an hour-long show, we played 10-11 songs so we had a bunch of breaks in between, where we kept talking nonsense,” he laughs.
“We realised people are coming and listening to what we were saying—they were almost enjoying us more off-air. So I thought, how do I record this without letting people know it’s being recorded? But we concluded that’s illegal.”
So the duo gave themselves strict instructions: “be real, no playing it for the microphone”. The banter (now recorded) that followed was candid and freewheeling, with enough nonsense to give listeners a peek into the duo’s weirdly wired brains.
The switch to video came from the realisation that “we realised we were missing the evil in people’s eyes when we were talking.” The last episode was a year ago, but he doesn’t think anyone’s noticed… he’s not even sure what episode they’re on.