Is this even comedy?
Performer: Rahul Subramanian, MICF
Screening: Until April 21, Chinese Museum
By SALONEE MISTRY
Well-known stand-up Indian comedian Rahul Subramanian had the audience in fits of laughter as he debuted his show Is this even comedy? at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Performing solo in front of an international audience for the first time, his set was funny, effortless and entertaining. It's his best show so far.
Subramanian said he believes his comedy is a representation of who he is.
“I am a ... non-confrontational kind of guy,” he said. “My humour comes from not forming strong opinions and having half-baked information.
“I write about silly everyday things that I find naturally funny.”
Following this process has allowed for his content to be relatable and has given him mass appeal.
The sense of continuity allowed for the performance to be heard as a story, even tough he touched upon a range of topics.
During his performance on Tuesday he spoke about quitting his corporate job to do stand-up, performing abroad and receiving death threats for a joke he made last year.
The Indian stand-up scene is slowly growing, Subramanian said, but the more people it reaches, the higher the chances your material is upsetting to someone.
“Sub-consciously when I write there is a filter in my head and I filter out so many of the jokes,” he said.
“It has definitely affected my joy of performing and writing stand-up comedy and it’s not as much fun as it used to be.
“There are a lot of things I will not talk about now.”
Despite these restrictions, stand-up comedy has given a voice to many, he said.
His personal challenge is communicating exactly what he is thinking.
“A joke is hilarious when it first pops into my head, but by the time it is actually performed it has been drastically modified,” he said.
“I try and get as close to the original as possible and this is challenging sometimes.”
What must be appreciated is his ability to tie-in jokes from the start of his set with the ones at the end.
Subramanian will be performing his set in Hinglish (a blend of Hindi and English used by Hindi-speakers) and in English. While both shows are essentially the same, certain jokes lose their value when translated and so some of the material is different, he said.
Is this even comedy? is being performed in Hinglish until April 14 and in English from April 16 – 21.