hey, i was hoping you’d read this.
My long discarded dream to be a stand up comedian is pretty obvious from my poorly written self-description, but as with most difficult things, comedy needs an audience.
Since my life is something of a joke already, the following post is about something i take a lot more seriously.
my birthday is on the 28th and i will FINALLY turn 16 and probably discover my superpower. now i realize that the odds of that happening are really few, so i think it would be a good idea to keep my fingers crossed and just not reveal my excitement in case the entire gig turns out to be a no show.
But no, that isn’t what this post is about, sorry if i got carried away and no, please hear me out .
Speaking of gigs and no-shows, a group of my friends have started a comedy collective. We plan to do news comedy and sketches ( short skits with a comic element) along with some stand up. And i sort of realize how this is a really serious commitment to make.
But we’re hoping to learn as we proceed or let others’ lowered expectations get them used to our jokes. (It hasn’t worked for this blog but i’m hoping the 75th attempt at creative activity will be the charm for me) . Besides, the idea has been gnawing at me for the past 2 years, so even though im not very good with jokes and stuff, im hoping tenacity will do the trick here.
Can you believe there is literally no stand up comedy scene in my city, even though it’s supposed to be a culture hub , with lit fests and film fests? (and we even have raju srivastav standing forlornly in the airport terminals now that his position has been usurped by the jokes on Whatsapp) Its strange how this renaissance in entertainment has not yet percolated to the slightly smaller towns, with the unsupressable growth of indian stand up comedians from the everyman appeal of kapil sharma to the more metropolitain East India Comedy and extremely well connected but equally controversial AIB .
It’s ironic how even though india’s stand up comedians are more sought after than ever before, they are not really getting appreciated for the right things. Every second viral video puts more pressure onto these performers for better , more popular content . Which is probably why AIB is considered the leader in news comedy even though EIC has done far more of the same, and the low budget versions of the bottom line, eic outrage and even aib’s “on air” are highly reminiscent of jon stewart, if not in content, in format and treatment. The content of certain AIB roasts reminded me a bit of the more popular one on MTV , and it is true that at times, the group’s humor has more cliche and repetition than originality of thought. perhaps it is excusable, perhaps not. There is of course, the viral fever , a team of talented comedians and videographers whos have touched a popular chord with their light hearted takes on popular media topics (arnab goswami’s tv show, office politics and roadies) . However , my personal favorite is definitely East India Comedy , whose earnestness, along with wackily creative treatment of everyday themes and incredible Ghanta awards for the worst of bollywood make their repertoire the most versatile and original. Individual stand up comics like kenneth sebastian, kannan gill ,vir das, abhish mathew and biswa kalyan rath, too are making a mark with innovative thematizing and crisp content.
Regardless of how often the performers are delayed when it comes to youtube release deadlines, (kannan’s fans seem upset at his ever growing public and guest appearances which lead to delayed reviews) and how the industry seems dominated by brown hairy men, as far as quality of entertainment goes, the indian stand up community deserves a standing ovation for packing more punch in their performance than a lot of bollywood movies that are trying too hard(and falling too short ) of humour.
I know with this strangely abstract background to the proffession and the ever changing whims of the public, it’s a strange dream for a socially awkward, eccentric loner like me to have , but i am not joking when i say i wish it was me the audiences cheered for, loved and admired, as i put forth to them everyday realities in a new, interesting, amusing way.
I really do hope this damn thing takes off. It would be too difficult for me to make fun of certain things otherwise. Apparently, if you aren’t a stand up comedian, you need to be politically correct all the time Or you’ll get beaten up for being ‘intolerant’ .
(This wasn’t even a joke , this is just india)