Mahesh Keshwala aka Thugesh is truly one of the most charismatic and audacious social media influencers and content creators from India. He has taken the digital landscape by storm with his quick-witted humor and unique take on life’s quirks. From masterfully edited roasts that have audiences in stitches to authentic vlogs that make viewers feel like old friends, his content resonates with a rapidly growing fanbase across platforms.
Commanding the attention of a diverse and devoted audience, he seamlessly blends comedy with critique, and his videos are the perfect cocktail of entertainment and insights. Whether he’s tackling the latest internet trend or sharing a slice of his daily life, his magnetic personality never fails to shine through. Thugesh added another feather to his cap by hosting his own talk show, a dream that he had envisioned a long time back. In an exciting chat with News18 Showsha, Thugesh opened up about this journey as a content creator and more.
Here are the excerpts:
Starting off, what’s the story behind naming your channel Thugesh and how were you able to establish this word as a brand that represents you and your content?
I used to make thug life videos back in 2016 so I thought of mixing the name Mahesh with thug hence the name Thugesh.
Creating content for YouTube is a mammoth task and it’s even more challenging when someone is venturing out in the comedy and commentary spaces. Keeping that in mind, what actually led to the beginning of this YouTube journey? Were you initially inspired by someone and what sort of pitfalls did you encounter in the beginning?
Was inspired mainly by Bhuvan Bam, Ashish Chanchlani. I genuinely felt I can do this even when I have the confidence in front of the camera! So, I went on and started making meme videos which were very new back then! Then started face cam videos which the public did not like initially but eventually they started loving the presentation! The main pitfall was to make face cam videos without a good quality camera phone or mic! 2- The demonetisation of the channel initially these two were the main issues I faced!
Can you share a bit about your creative journey and the evolution of your content from when you started to where you are now? And how your audience adapted to that kind of shift?
I started with videos like top 10 places to visit then shifted to making thug life videos then shifted to meme videos then roast videos then sketch comedy then I recently completed season 1 of my talk show “the Thugesh show”.
It takes time for people to adapt but one should remember the shift should always be smooth and not abrupt for example you cannot shift your whole content in a day! You should start making changes slowly and see if people are relating with it and are wanting more!
Your videos often incorporate humour and satire. Where does your sense of humour stem from? And whether it’s a dominant part of your personality even in your personal day-to-day life? How would you define your humour?
I think it is a part of my personality! Also I try to watch as much comedy content to be in the mood to watch stand ups! Funny animations, funny movies and shows and currently it is a part of my personality especially if I am comfortable with someone!
How do you navigate the fine line between comedy and ensuring your content is respectful and inclusive? Even when you are roasting someone or something, how do you determine what’s permissible and what’s below the belt?
I do have a sense of what should not be said! I do not abuse! I do not target any religion! Do not body shame anyone ! And try to make it as fun as possible that even if the person getting roasted watches the video he will have a laugh and will show it to the family! My humour is family friendly. I believe in content that will entertain the whole family and of every age group and always try to attract the mass!
You are counted among the top roasters of the country. And roasting itself is not an easy genre to tackle, especially when people of this country are sensitive or unaware about this genre of comedy. Despite that, your roasts have flourished and loved by many. What do you think is that distinctive quality about your roasts that sets you apart from your contemporaries? And whether you feel nervous before creating a roasting video?
I think my non abusive roasts are what distinguishes me from others! I try to maintain a balance between not being lame and being too insulting which is what attracts most of the people and yes people are sensitive these days there are certain people who are just waiting for you to make a mistake and pull you down with it! So its important to be carefull!
Roasts before 2020 was about what you should write, roasts now are all about what you should not write
As a follow up, how do you handle criticism or negative feedback, and what advice do you have for aspiring content creators in dealing with it?
I think I have been in space long enough that hate doesn’t affect me! I think I have seen it all! So I just put my phone aside and I stop reading comments and I get on to the next video or content piece I am making! And that would be my advice to the younger creators! Do not focus on it! Hate will go away in a few days if you indulge in it start giving replies to everyone and every creator you will keep getting pulled more towards it!
In your content creation journey, you have been able to create a dedicated fan base for yourself that has their presence on social media sites like Reddit. Can you talk about your interaction with your audience and how their feedback influences your content?
I think I am very lucky to have such a loving fanbase! Who have supported me throughout the years! They treat me like their family member! If I am not well, they pick it up instantly from my tone! Even they know when I am faking my energy! So, I love them a lot and I owe my success to them! The fan pages that people run without getting anything in return! Really melts my heart! I think you can build such an audience only if you think of them as real people and not just some numbers or views! Always think of them as real people who watch your videos and take out time to watch them! So do the fan service! And they will love you.
In the world of online content creation, how do you balance being entertaining while also conveying meaningful messages or commentary?
I try not to hammer any narrative into the minds of the audience! And try to put in some or the other message in a very subtle way in a satire specially so it does not come out as cringe or out of place for a funny creator!
A couple of years back, you had an online tiff with Urfi Javed. Can you share what exactly happened from your perspective and how it escalated to that point?
I reacted to an outfit of Urfi! Which she did not like and posted a number of stories and abuses in my Dms! But I think its fine! Everyone reacts to my videos in a different way and I genuinely do not have any hate for her!
How do you unwind when the whole content creation thing gets too overwhelming for you, especially since you have a strong presence on YouTube as well as Instagram?
I think I have not given myself time to get overwhelmed hahah bcz i just keep on working everyday! Have not enjoyed the success as much. I believe it’s important to work hard even at this stage or it won’t be long enough before people move on from you!
How and when did you come up with the idea of the Thugesh Show and how did you curate your guests on it? what was your overall experience hosting the show for the audience? And the lessons you learnt during the production of it?
I think I came with an idea during lockdown! I love the Jimmy Fallon show. I wanted to make something similar but with something which will relate to my audience so I added something like meme reviews and roasts which has been a base of my channel! Overall experience hosting the show was lovely. I cannot take a single name of the guest who was unprofessional on the set! Everyone from bhuvan to carry were very humble and felt good when they genuinely put efforts to make the episode good and not just be present on the set! What I learned the most is that every guest is different, some may be serious some may be funny some may not be able to handle roasts! But it comes down to you as a host how you handle them and make them comfortable!
In recent times, many content creators have become part of reality TV shows like Bigg Boss. In future, if that opportunity comes to you, would you be willing to take part in it? And what are your thoughts on Munawar Faruqui’s stint inside the Bigg Boss 17 house? Do you see him as a winner of this season?
I don’t know i may go or i may not go depends on the situation i am in bcz 2-3 months is a long long time for not posting anything i’ll need the makers to at least tell me 6 months before the show so I can make content accordingly hahahah
Apart from your videos, how do you plan to enhance your content in the coming times and what more one should expect from you in that context?
I think more high effort videos will be coming on my main channel in 2024. It’s difficult to balance all 4 channels! But i think more quality content will be coming yes.
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