Johnny Lever is India’s one of the first stand-up comedians. His career in Bollywood films tells us how talented he is as he has appeared in more than 300 films.
The humor that Johnny uses is very unique, he also possesses great comic timing and can do classic expressions. He makes us laugh whenever he appears on the screen.
Here are some of the lesser-known facts about the man who made us laugh so hard over so many years.
Johnny Lever is known as King of comedy in Bollywood
It can be said that Johnny Lever is the king of comedy in Bollywood who inspired many to follow standup comedy.
For a fact, Johnny reintroduced Indian cinema to the staple Shakespearean fool. Before Johnny, there were Mehmood and Johnny Walker who used the part of the movie as comic relief.
Johnny Lever belongs to Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh, to a Christian Telugu family. He spent most of his childhood in the narrow lanes of Dharavi, Mumbai.
Johnny’s father worked on the post of the operator in Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) with low earnings. They barely managed to sustain the whole family which comprised Johnny along with 3 sisters and 2 brothers.
He changed his name from John to Johnny
The real name of Johnny lever is John Prakasa Rao Janumala. When John was employed at Hindustan Lever (now Hindustan Unilever), he performed a stage show for a company event.
He mimicked senior officers at Hindustan Lever which made everyone laugh and appreciate his comic skills.
Afterward, his colleagues started calling him ‘Johnny Lever’. These responses boosted his morale and it motivated him to try harder and bring something worthwhile out of his passion for comedy.
Eventually, he got many opportunities to showcase his great talent.
Johnny Lever quit his job to pursue a career in stand up comedy
Soon, he became very popular and finally decided to quit his job in 1981. He waited for six years to become a full-time stand-up comedian.
After doing many stand-up comedy shows in orchestras, he finally got a chance to join the Kalyanji-Anandji group. This gave both national and international exposure.
Johnny has a soft corner for puzzles
Very few are aware that Johnny loves solving crossword puzzles. He usually starts his day by solving crosswords and has been doing so for quite a few years now. It may be his love for word games that makes him the master of words.
Johnny is meticulous with his craft and known as a thorough professional
Though Johnny Lever has achieved huge success, he remained humble to everyone around. One of his special talents is that he is very punctual and follows a great discipline at his work. He often arrives at the shooting an hour before the originally scheduled time.
Johnny Lever is very serious about comedy
Little you know that Johnny Lever is very health conscious even though he never does gym or yoga. For the record, he cuts down eating rice two times a day before his every stage show. Thus, it can be said that no matter how hard he makes us laugh, he takes comedy very seriously.
Johnny Level also struggle to get the fortune
Like many great artists, Johnny too has to go through a very tough struggling period. Due to financial problems he had to leave school when he was just in class 7th. While struggling, he did many odd jobs like selling pens on the streets and impersonating famous actors.
In an interview, he revealed the incident which is bizarre to think about. He said that some transgender showed up when he was performing and Johnny was matching their steps during the act.
The transgenders were very impressed by his performance. They even asked Johnny if he would join their group to which he happily agreed.
Amid all these hardships, his passion for comedy kept growing stronger. Eventually, Johnny became one of India’s first great stand up comedians. In the end, all these struggles played a very important role in making him what he is today.
Johnny Lever entertained the generation by acting in Bollywood movies as comic relief.
Johnny made his debut in the Bollywood industry with the film Tum Par Hum Qurban. It was actor-director Sunil Dutt who recognized Johnny’s talent while watching him during the shooting of Tum Par Hum Qurban. Afterward, he offered a role to Johnny in his 1982 film ‘Dard Ka Rishta’.
Since then, Johnny Lever has done more than 350 films such as Dilwale, Golmaal, Sapoot, Phir Hera Pheri, Jeet, Andaaz, Ajnabee, Baadshah, Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega, and many more. It seems like his jokes and his funny expressions will never fail to make us laugh.
The daughter of Johnny Lever is also emerging as a great comedian like her father.
Jamie Lever is the daughter of Johnny Lever. She has worked as a marketing executive in London. When she was attending a comedy club, she felt that comedy came to her quite naturally.
Afterward, Jamie decided to pursue stand-up comedy professionally and become a comedian like her father. Other than being a father, Johnny Lever is also mentoring his daughter. They have performed together in more than 150 live shows.
Johnny Lever is famous for these dialogues
A few of Johnny’s characters are very popular among the audience. For instance, the iconic Abba Dabba Jabba in Judaai, or the Aslam Bhai’s Dubai Ka Chashma, his characters became famous because of his comic timing.
He left a long-lasting impact with his acting skills and screen presence in the movies even playing the side roles.