Streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime have dispersed the colourful spectrum of comedy, bringing bountiful of jokes right at home.
The Indian comedy spectacle deserves a league of its own. It has transformed and evolved, and the world has started to pay heed to our understated sense of humour.
The abundance of content being offered online is staggering–comedians are churning content at an intriguing rate, allowing us to discover new talent every day. We have gorged and broken into bouts of laughter on seasoned and novice’s comedy specials, and here’s our take on the top five comic deliveries in the recent times.
Kenny Sebastian: Don’t Be That Guy
Kenny hasn’t just propelled to fame, he’s been around for years and has become a rather popular figure to look out for in the stand-up and Improv scene. It’s a fresh narrative of a guy being acutely aware of the hypocrisies and pitfalls they bring into the lives of people around them, and ensures that he doesn’t end up being that guy.
Thumbs up: There’s something about Kenny Sebastian, walking up the stage with an acute observation of the quirks of the world he lives, and beginning the stream of laughter from there. The Indian audience loves its bits about middle-class antics and maid troubles, and Kenny tapped that. He wove in and out of the idiosyncrasies: from people overselling their Goa experiences to etching the typical guy friendships, all we can say is, “brutal, bro!”
Thumbs down: It was all giggles and laughter, yet the appeasement and cheering echoed a little louder than the joke demanded. The show ended with a rabid audience, but we reckon that had a lot to do with the stirring song he sung right before.
Zakir Khan: Haq se Single
Zakir Khan has achieved a cult status with his radically relatable content. A writer at heart with words heartily picked, the shayari andaaz defines his narration, setting him up for considerable fame. A stand-up guru with some hits and lows in the past, his Amazon Prime special has been heralded as the longest to be given to any comedian.
Thumbs up: When your bhai gets on stage to relay some golden truths experienced by every man on this planet, it is bound to stir up excitement. There’s something to be said about the beautiful way Zakir Khan tells his stories; he knows the knot, which rakes the highest degree of amusement and unravels exactly that. Relationships are a fragile path for every man and no one knows the gospel truth at work here, and Haq Se Single manoeuvred right through that road.
Thumbs down: And here comes the flip–a man pre-emptively churning out facts about women gets a little too trite. The typical rant of unrequited love is what floated through the 92-minute’s of content, and we wonder if the man knows as much as he espouses.
Vir Das: Abroad Understanding
His ‘Weird Ass’ has failed to quit despite everything, and we raise our glasses to that. Vir Das’ stint on screen and on stage has witnessed a wavering sense of popularity, yet with Abroad Understanding, he proved his mettle with a bountiful of jokes up his sleeves. In a one-of-a-kind special, Vir Das alternates between New York and Delhi, and finds the right balance across the globe.
Thumbs up: We have to say, the international footing with an intriguing format piqued our interest. He’s not one to shy away from controversy: the comedy special brimmed with quips brewing from the cultural differences and social-political turmoil. While the audience abroad empathetically guffawed about the 2016 elections and Gun Control Act, the Indian counterparts had their take of digs on the food and the alleged intolerance. And when religion and race are spoken of in alignment with the Prime Minister, you know feathers are being ruffled.
Thumbs down: Streaming along with nine other Indian comedy specials at the time, Vir Das’ show never reached its perception fruition. While the contemporary context was painted with hilarious strokes, the last act didn’t quite close the show as we would have liked.
Aditi Mittal: Things They Wouldn’t Let Me Say
You knew her but hadn’t watched her, before this. She plays on the fame of being the second Indian to have her own Netflix special, and the first female comedian at that. Her self-deprecating jokes have had the ironic effect of introspection, and the energy which she brings on stage is what had us geared up. Things They Wouldn’t Let Me Say essentially narrates the world of men in which women live, and how Aditi Mittal sees it.
Thumbs up: Aditi Mittal got on that stage with a lot to prove, as a woman and a comedian, and that’s a high she’ll continue to laugh on. Her aggressive and quirky accent has everyone hooked to what the smart-wit might say next. The special said a lot of things, which needed to be reminded–the quotidian ironies of life, which we fail to observe. Also, it had a woman voicing out and countering every whit of stereotype, and that was the need of the hour.
Thumbs down: There are some hilarious quips packed in there, indubitably; yet, we’ve seen this before. Tropes about Punjabis, babies, menstruation, relationships, and beauty didn’t encounter a stellar revelation throughout the set, allowing a half smile to prevail throughout.
Kanan Gill: Keep It Real
The comedy scene’s poster boy known for his pretentious reviews, set out to do his Amazon special and tickled funny bones and more along the way. The hour-long ride of anecdotes and retrospection resonated across the hall, because the comedian gave it in and kept it real.
Thumbs up: It’s the air of nonchalance with which Kanan Gill bestowed his jokes on an unyielding audience that clinched the deal. The content helped with its relatability: from relationships, technology and parents to effortlessly putting a cow on the road, it had us satiated with laughter. Also, he undeciphered the complex task of making your girlfriends watch something–a true mic-droppable moment.
Thumbs down: He has maintained a mild, low-profile with a little to boast of, at least for those who religiously follow his YouTube channel. Post-Keep it Real, we just wish there was more of him!