“Masti karega? Padhne baith!” And with this epic statement by almost every parent of our country, a lot of us did not even think of a career which is considered today to be full of glamour, life and ofcourse, fun : “Stand-up Comedy”. I remember getting a stare from parents when I used to issue “Khushwant Singh” books from the school library. Things did not change much while I was in college. Even during my MBA days, my friends at Symbiosis restricted Stand-Up Comedy to few videos in the laptop.
But hey, India has changed now. With multiple reality shows on national television (I do not know how real they are but that is not the point), the fame of Kapil Sharma and the success of AIB, EIC, TVF and the likes, there has been a tremendous craze of Stand-Up Comedy amongst everyone, especially the youth. And I have seen people leaving their cushy corporate lives (atleast they look cushy) and becoming artists in the fields of their choice, even Stand-Up Comedy for that matter. This change is definitely a positive sign for India’s future.
Few days ago, I watched a humorous video on Navratri which had few actors of the movie “Chhello Divas” in it. Since my blog www.anandbhate.in is the “Blog Partner” of that movie, I was attracted to watch the video entirely. And there I came to know of the first ever stand-up comedy group of Gujarat, “The Comedy Factory”. I could not resist myself from watching their previous videos after this one and continued watching them until my jaws gave up. They make crazy videos and I became their fan.
And a fan is always loyal. So as a faithful devotee, I rolled up my sleeves and fueled up my car on the 29th of October 2015 to watch their gig LIVE at Ahmedabad. It was at 9:30 p.m. at the auditorium of H.K. College which was a bit tricky to locate, thanks to the confused Google Maps. I reached a bit late and surprisingly they had started sharp on time. It is definitely a surprise because 9:30 p.m. generally means 10 p.m. or probably even later in Ahmedabad, but these guys did not believe in the Ahmedabad Standard Time. ‘Chaalo vandho nahi’
The gig started with Shivam Agarawal. He is perhaps the youngest chap in this group and is presently pursuing Engineering at Gandhinagar. A native of Muzzafarpur, which he reminds often to ensure it is ‘not the riots vaala city’ to draw humor, majorly ends up falling flat to the audience. With a bit of messed up English grammar and a weak connect with the audience, he is the not the best bet placed by “The Comedy Factory” to begin their show with. However, he is extremely enthusiastic and with a few more open mikes, he can rock the shows. But that will definitely take few months of intensive hard-work.
Moving on to Tushar Acharya. He got the uninterested audience back to the show and certainly met the expectations set by “The Comedy Factory”. His take on the city of Surat was fun and the Salman Khan lines were also humorous. When he ended with the “As a stand-up comedian, I cannot donate sperm because…” the audience was left in a loud and hard cheer.
Then came Aariz Saiyed, who says he is in the group because of the “Minority Quota”. I do not find it humorous because the Entertainment Industry is ruled by the Khan’s and I am sure no one ever thinks of religion in this industry. May be it was a Gujju centric joke (for obvious reasons). But yea, the guy is talented. He brought in musical comedy which is a great concept. His song on “Ban Ban” was highly appreciated. Also, the song on Salman Khan was fun. Later on, he came in for a stand-up comedy session and managed to hold everyone’s attention. At several instances he made fun of his name and this sportive spirit was impressive. He has a good command over Hindi and English, and I won’t be surprised if he makes a mark nationally.
I hadn’t seen a play in a stand-up comedy gig before. Here, it was done by Deep Vaidya, Chirayu Mistry and Mitra Gadhvi. Yes he is the same Mitra of Bas Ek Chance and Chhello Divas. Seeing him, a lot of us already had high expectations from the play and it did not disappoint. The trio was well prepared. Their dialogue delivery, actions and expressions were all in sync. The “Wilf” concept was a laughter riot and will be recollected by many in the days to come. I am not sure if a play can be a part of a stand-up comedy gig, because that goes against the basic principle of this category. ‘Theek hawe, Gujarat ma haale’
Chirayu Mistry’s solo comedy was one of the liveliest moments in this gig. Even with a single word he is able to create ripples of humor in the audience. His ‘aamsutra to sex’ thing was creative. Also, ‘my bitch…awww!!’ got good laughter, even from the female audience. His expressions keep you engaged all the time.
Preeti Das is the only female member and the fiercest one of the lot. Seriously! Her English is flawless and I am sure she’ll find few mistakes in this blog too (ummm, if she reads that is. Apparently she is very busy all the time). Her non-verbal communication was in sync with her verbal communication. The pregnancy of Kunti by the Sun and relating it with today’s girls was fun too.
And ofcourse, there are two folks who kept on anchoring and entertaining. Aakash Mehta and Manan Desai. No flaw of any kind. All their one-liners were amazing. Their sense of humor is fabulous. I’ve seen them enough on YouTube and have always enjoyed their performances.
Towards the end, the team performed a group song “Good Bad Ugly”, played an impromptu game and did a skit. In the skit, the duration of performance decreased from 1 minute to 30 seconds to 8 seconds; which created a lot of humor.
Overall, it was a good show. They entertained us all for some 100 minutes which is quite a long duration for a stand-up comedy gig. Highly appreciate the content they have generated and their activeness. By pricing, it was quite decent. They charged 200 bucks for the balcony and 300 for the front rows. I remember shelling out close to a thousand Rupees at Bangalore and Gurgaon.
‘Gujarat ma etla koi na aape bhai’.
Yes this is disheartening. I know people spending insane money in Navratri and Diwali, but not ready to shell out few hundred for folks doing something innovative and creative here. I am not saying that one should spend money out of regionalism and mercy, but I am advocating the idea of giving Bas Ek Chance to the talent. Remember wasting money for “Katti Batti” and the likes na, toh ena karta toh boss aa saaruj chhe!
Also, it was good to meet Bhargav Purohit (Creative Head of Red FM Gujarat and a brilliant music director) at the gig.
Keep rocking The Comedy Factory. Great initiative Manan!