For a Few Laughs


Having said that, India is a very big country, it’s very hard to say what the entire country finds funny. When I do comedy, I’m not getting hung up on the laughs per minute, but it’s something that I want to say. But we’re lucky to be able to perform here, there’s a fanbase for everything. BKR: There are two ways to answer this — one, by looking at the audience reaction, and the other from the judge’s chair. We don’t need to wonder about what genre that will be, because it will be its own thing. Advertising

What does this show tell us about what India finds funny today? BKR: You can’t teach comedy as a concept, but you can debate a joke and elevate it. Can that sort of intensely personal and visceral comedy work in India, a country that traditionally celebrates success and not our failures? As mentors, we’re mostly figuring out as well; it’s mostly fixing, editing, restructuring, simple things like hold the mic closer. More Explained

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BKR: This is a tough question, because we have to try it first. Sumukhi Suresh (SS): We’re moving away from the standard jokes about sexism or cities, and the show is a chance to discover that there are a range of neutral topics to mine from. KS: The trend in comedy, globally, is changing and moving from being a showman to something more vulnerable. Gadsby’s show had a very female energy to it, and it is stand up, and that’s what I would like to achieve as a stand up comedian. KS: The show is about the craft of comedy, which can’t be taught. Popular Photos

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SS: I don’t think it can be, but my role as a mentor is to help them further their skill set. The upcoming comics are the voice of India. Is there anything that has surprised you? If not, what is the mentor’s role? Here, the contestants are producing five minutes a week. They got it in one week and performed. Nanette is important because for the first time, we saw a woman bring something new to stand up — men have dictated the genre since the beginning. There are shows that explore that kind of vulnerability, but in stand up, to get to a point where you can do that, will take some time. Kaneez Surka (KS): Yes, and how they’ve adapted to so many different genres so quickly — from stand-up to improv and sketch — and doing it so well. Advertising

The show is returning for a second season, with new contestants and a few new judges. Can comedy be taught? 0
Comment(s) Biswa Kalyan Rath (BKR): I’m amazed by how fast people can grow when they are put under pressure. I think it can work because people are the same everywhere, and the Indian audience is as good as the audience anywhere in the world. I think comedy should be more layered: the jokes must be funny but also try and tell you something at the same time. But something like improv can be taught — there are rules and guidelines. Almost exactly a year before, Hannah Gadsby’s special, Nanette, broke the mould in stand up — it cut through the fat and showed us the white of the bone. It’s in vogue. Typically, a comic spends the first year producing five minutes of good content; the second year, it’s a little more. Advertising

SS: Nanette is also a show that is based on a narrative of over 12 years or so.