One hears the word stand-up comedy so often these days that it has almost become a part of our daily lives. You switch on your TV and the chances are high of a comedy show running on a channel. You take the newspaper in your hand and most often than not you will come across something related to comedy. To beat everything, just pay a little attention to yourself and everybody around. Instantly, it will dawn upon you that you have actually started talking a bit like your favorite stand-up comedian. This is the effect of stand up comedy and this is what it does to your life. Gives us the moments of genuine laughter; laugh when we feel like laughing and also laugh when we feel like crying. After all, comedy is what our lives are made of. The stand-up comedy scene started getting bright in India almost ten years back when the highly popular show, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge aired on TV. It is not that there was no stand-up comedy before, but talking about general popularity and having found its feet in India, that show did much to this incredible comic act which can be best described as the funny invocation of life. And from there onwards, India has seen an extremely fortunate phase as stand-up comedy grew on parallel tracks; namely Hindi stand-up comedy and English stand-up comedy. To just describe in brief what stand-up means (after all I am constantly talking about it, and a description seems a genuine call).
Stand-up comedy is a form of comic act when a comedian performs in front of a live audience. He delivers his bits (short jokes), one-liners (monologue) and his amusing anecdotes, to say the least. Some of them also use props, music and magic tricks to tickle the funny bones of the audience. Getting back to the earlier track, yes, the stand-up comedy scene in India currently enjoys its upswing among the classes and the masses both and in the future it is only going to get better, provided the artists do not forget to innovate. If we talk about Indian stand-up comedy, veteran names such as Raju Srivastava, Krishna, Sunil Pal and Sudesh Lahiri come to our mind. All of them found their popularity through ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’, a comedy show which was loved by the audience to the tee. However, currently the man who rules the Hindi comedy scene is Kapil Sharma, who has found huge success with his show Comedy Nights with Kapil Sharma on Colors. If we take a look at the English comedy scene, it is unarguably promising and better than ever before. A lot of comedians from diverse walks of life have taken to stand-up comedy, and in the process, turned it in to something which is so culturally diverse yet bursting with meaningful entertainment. East India Comedy is one of the main players in this game and their shows are extremely popular, not to mention that every time they manage to get the audience rolling on the floor with laughter, almost! Names like Sorabh Pant, Kunal Rao and Sapan Verma comes to our mind among other talented comedians. If we have seen their live act, we are sure that it isn’t easy to forget that sort of incisive humor. Vir Das, who has recently come up with the Weirdass Pajama Festival is among the big names in English stand-up comedy and is one of the most sought-after artists in India. Even more interesting is looking at their background; they come from all walks of life. If one of them is a retired Chartered Accountant, the other is an advertising professional who found stand-up comedy so irresistible. One thing is common amongst all of them; they were all lured by stand-up comedy for the freedom which it gives all of them to let them express what they feel and think about various other things, not to forget, their own life too!
Their humor is so funny that you won’t even realize that you are thinking about India and its people among a million other things, while in reality you are actually giving it a thought. The internet has also become a boon for stand-up comedy, as a podcast is a sort of a platform where one can be a little quiet when it comes to their humorous take on everything or can choose to shout out their funny jokes. All India Bakchod hosts its popular podcast on their Youtube channel. If you have the good luck of landing on either one of them, it surely will make you chuckle with its funny streak. If Tanmay Bhatt, one of the key artists of AIB makes the listening experience so edgy, then on the other hand, Indian comedy veteran Raju Srivastava gives the jokes a real taste of life. It really is fun, but one distinct thing (not a definite note) which comes out after watching these stand-up comedians in India perform, whether on television or live, is that in a sense they are kind of bridging the gap of what we call British comedy and American Comedy. If British comedy stands for sharp satire and American comedy stands for its classic observation, Indian stand-up artists stand between these two lands and they are continuously carving out a place for themselves with their honest efforts, sincerity and talent. No wonder all of their comedy, whether intentional or not makes the experience of being an Indian, so rich that it just becomes so thoughtful and endearing.