Why is it called the Improv Premier League? Well, because much like the IPL, this improv show sees legends create magic on the spot to earn your respect; and every game has its unique thrilling moments, never to be seen again. The show was held at OF10, a sweet co-working space in Powai.
With scenes and songs made on the spot based on audience suggestions, the show was conceptualized and presented by Unkit Sharma, an NYC based improv actor with over five years at The Hideout Theatre (Austin) and The People's Improv (New York). He is also the founder of the two improv groups we got to see – Say Whaaat and Kaamedy Inc. Here's a little something about our stellar teams.
Say Whaaat is a fresh improv group that comprises some of India's hottest YouTube stars, upcoming comedians and promising Bollywood actors. I learned only after the show that they were so newly formed that this was only their second show. Gauging by their performance, I would've never guessed. This bunch comprises Divya Menon, Badri Chavan, Piyush Sharma and Jasmeet aka Jizzy.
Kaamedy Inc is a corporate entertainment group that performs improvised comedy shows specifically curated for corporate audiences. More experienced than their counterparts, they could handle anything thrown at them. This group consists of Varsha Kini, Naveen Tiwari, Kartik Poddar and Hersh Tolani.
Our host for the evening, Unkit, got us hooked right from the start. Unhappy with our applause on his first introduction, he repeatedly introduced himself on the stage until he was happy with our energy. He also came up with a few exercises for us to get loosened up and louder. Once he was happy, he proceeded with the show. This was important since improv shows function on audience participation.
The show comprised numerous rounds, with every round as entertaining as the other. Here are a few highlights. The audience was asked for a topic, and our stars would tell a story on it. What made it interesting was that they were allowed to speak only when our host would point at them, which means the next person that was pointed at would have to continue the story from where it was left. The result? A hilarious and random story about a lion and more.
Audience participation peaked with the next round. Someone was chosen to hold a bell and a horn. If he liked the way the story was going, he would ring the bell, allowing them to carry on. If not, he would honk the horn and the actors would have to backtrack with a new dialogue, hoping to be accepted by the volunteer. The result? A challenging act for our stars, but one that we thoroughly enjoyed. A few rounds featured a rap battle and a poetry war as well.
The audience was asked for a list of emotions, and as the artists acted out a story, they would have to switch to the emotions listed. This was where we could see what fine actors they are. From anxious to apologetic, their delivery of dialogue was amusing. Similarly they had another round for movie genres as well. From mystery to animation to even 3D (very realistic), their creativity was on point. In the last round, they had to read out chits with key punchlines written by the audience. The last line of the act happened to be "aao kabhi haveli pe" making it the perfect end to the show.
The comedy scene in India is pretty great, and now with improv growing steadily thanks to such artists, it is heading in the right direction. Improv shows are all about spontaneity and these guys do it so well. Such shows are truly worth it. Prepare for hysterical moments throughout!