With the kind of stressful lives we live, it is now more important than ever to look for humor to relax us. There are always movies and plays which can fill the necessary need of humor but in the last decade, there has been another form of entertainment which has been gaining popularity. Unlike English stand-ups in India, Gujarati stand-up has been here for some time with veterans like Siddharth Randheria leading the pack. Manan Desai who is not new to the stand-up scene is touring his new stand-up special A-Shudh Gujarati.
Gujarati and English stand-ups are rare and if you understand both languages, this one is a laugh riot. One such special was presented by Manan Desai at the Canvas Laugh Club and it certainly had everyone in splits. As you enter the venue on a fine Saturday evening, your face would instantly break into a smile as you would hear some Gujarati tracks playing on the speaker. They include a mix of garba songs and other popular Gujarati tracks (a Gujarati version of Kaala Chashma too). As you get your drinks and food and settle down, these tracks entertain you.
Once everyone is settled down, the show begins. First off Manan starts by saying how he hates garba (yes, he is one of those Gujaratis). He then familiarizes himself with the audience in the first row. Some stand-up comedians rely on the audience members to provide fodder for their humor. This keeps the jokes fresh every time. His every punch line got a chuckle from the audience and many times even a roar of laughter. He covered a variety of topics like the Indian Railways, his experience as a Radio Jockey and also a lot of underground jokes for the Jains in the audience. He chose to end the special on a somber note as he told us about his inspiration behind making people laugh.
Most of the stand-up was in Gujarati and it intertwined with English now and then. The audience was strangely a mix of all age groups and that says a lot about Manan's ability to please everyone. There aren't many new-age Gujarati comedians who would experiment with using Gujarati as a language for the show. This was certainly a brave effort. When this crazy show comes to your town and if you understand Gujarati, you should not miss it. But sit in the first row only if you don't mind being a part of the jokes.