BY SALONEE MISTRY
If you want a taste of the essence of Indian stand-up, The Indian All-Star Comedy Showcase is the performance to attend.
The showcase has four of Indian’s finest stand-up acts, each one extremely different from one another.
Known for her hosting and improv skills, Kaneez Surka, will host the show and bring you jokes about her life.
“When I saw the line-up, I was amazed at how different all our styles are,” Surka said. “It’s four different perspectives of India, all packed into one show.”
The other performers include: Naveen Richard, who has established himself through sketch comedy; Sonali Thakker, known for a self-deprecating humour; and Anuvab Pal, the first Indian comic to perform at the London Comedy Store.
Richard said he had picked his favourite bits from previous shows, focusing on plain and simple observational stuff he thinks will work in Melbourne.
Pal on the other hand was still working on his set and said he might use some of the colonisation jokes from his well-known set Empire.
Skilled in their respective niches of comedy, be it stand-up, sketch or improv, they all have a different writing process.
“I’ll think of a joke, write it down, try it at open mics, rewrite it and then improvise it,” said Surka.
Richard takes a different approach. “I take pointers on my phone, try to write that bit, eventually find something else from that, try the second thing at an open mic and find a good ending to it all somewhere along the way,” he said.
Pal focuses on stories. “I write scripts and because of that habit, a lot of my stand-up has to do with stories, where I am having a conversation with someone. I sometimes tend to go on stage and decide if I need last-minute changes,” he said.
In the Indian stand-up comedy scene, content generation is becoming a challenge, the three of them agreed. The competition is high and the pressure is on.
Pal pointed to politics as an example. “The politicians and others associated themselves are churning out so much comedy that as comedians we are having to dilute out stuff,” he said.
“This is both a good and bad thing.”
Surka, with her cheerful and happy persona on stage, and Pal, with his dry and clever humour, are veterans of the Indian comedy scene. Coupled with Richard’s close-to-perfect impressions and Thakker’s unique performance style, this is one show you don't want to miss.
The Indian All-Star Comedy Showcase runs at the Pavilion and the Forum from tomorrow tonight, April 19, 20 and 21.