I don’t remember when exactly I started following Rohan Joshi on Twitter, but he has had me in splits ever since. So when I heard that he was performing at The High Spirits in Pune, the only option I had was to be there. Presented by Fosters LOL Nights in association with Weirdass Comedy, A Naight Phor Lauwers this one was called, featuring Amogh Ranadive, Aditi Mittal, Sidd Couto and Rohan himself. Did I want to spend my Saturday getting gyaan on the intense heart-wrenching topic of love from people belonging to a group called Weirdass Comedy? Hell yeah I did! I am a hormone-driven member of the fairer sex after all. And boy, did I make the right choice!
On the 10th of September 2011, I walked into a club at 8:0pm. Yes, clubs do open that early, especially in Pune. Following Indian tradition, the show started more than an hour later by which time the place was pretty much packed. Rohan took on the stage and there was no stopping the laughs! The opening segment had him talk about Pune and Parsis (clichéd, I know) but something with universal appeal to the crowd present.
The main act followed – full-on advice on love, sex and everything in between. When dealing with these “taboo-ed” subjects, it is very easy to cross the fine line between being funny and downright cheap. Not once did any of the performers cross this well-drawn Lakshman rekha.
Sidd Couto’s rendition of classic love songs with a twist was definitely one of the highlights of the evening. He interjected the original lyrics with his own comments, timed beautifully. Hilarious, this one was.
The other highlight would have to be the comparison between Indian and British weddings done by Aditi, Amogh and Rohan. If you have ever attended an Indian wedding and seen even a snippet of The Royal Wedding on television, this act would have you doubling up with laughter!
The concept of stand-up comedy is fairly new in India. With the exception of commonly-known faces such like Cyrus Broacha and Vir Das, the Indian populace largely relates these funny men and women to the sappy, third grade ‘laughter’ shows doing the rounds on television today. What these youngsters brought with them was fresh humour on subjects that were broadly relative to a metropolitan audience. Both Rohan and Amogh felt that the learning curve for stand-up comedy is great and the scene is definitely picking up in India.
As the popular belief goes, comedy is nothing without timing. All four of the performers had perfect comic timing and complimented each other brilliantly. With the opening up of comedy clubs and various pubs having nights dedicated to the stand-up routine, I feel that this untapped entertainment source is definitely the next big thing.
Before Saturday night, if anybody asked me about Indian comedy, I would cringe thinking regional humour and (cheap) sexual interjections. Though Naight Phor Lauwers had both these (minus the cheapness), they were packaged so brilliantly that the cringe has now turned into a chuckle.
Photographs by Swathy Sethumadhavan