Laugh Out Loud: The Top Stand-up Comedians of India
You know what they say – laughter is the best medicine and funny people are the emergency ward doctors – or something to that extent. In this day and age of stress, is it any surprise that people look to the performing arts to spend their weekends and step out more ‘cultured’ rather than opt for the 100-crore box office smash hits, even when suddenly we Indians have the moolah, which we might not otherwise spend even on a dustbin?
But thanks to the internet, technology, and the guts shown by a chosen few, stand-up comedy in India has made its presence felt – and how! Although it is yet to reach a crescendo, the list of the stand-up comedians in India grows steadily.
When we talk of the performing arts, we mostly mean stand-up comedy today. Sure if you would have used the phrase 10 years ago, you might have been met with either blank stares or references to our shows on TV such as ‘The Great Indian Comedy Show’. But thanks to the internet, technology, and the guts shown by a chosen few, stand-up comedy in India has made its presence felt – and how! Although it is yet to reach a crescendo, the list of the stand-up comedians in India grows steadily. The phenomenon, though still in a very nascent and experimental stage, is carried on the shoulders of these Chosen Ones (we are guessing they have extremely cool parents!) who make us feel what Buddha made his students feel – reverence, enlightenment and awe. Here are a few of them to get you familiar with.
Trolling politicians and voicing his opinions on the behavior of the adults of our country, this cute comedian has keen observation skills (at least he won’t be lying in his CV). But apparently being funny is not all that exhausting. This young talent is a humour columnist, occasional screen writer, a member of Weirdass Comedy and an improv group. He is one of those stand-up comedians of today with whom you’d laugh and nod in agreement – and be perplexed along with him at the most basic of habits. Also, do not call him mature. He doesn’t like it.
Starting off as a writer for TV, Pant showcased his comic side with Vir Das in 2008. From then on, there was no stopping him. 350 shows in 7 countries later, Pant is one of the most successful comedians in India. It helps to have worked with Wayne Brady and Rob Schneider. He founded one of the busiest comedy companies in India – East India Co.medy. Beware – he is outrageously outspoken and will take you down with humour and words if you cross his path before you realize what hit you!
A female comedian in an industry which is male dominated (isn’t our entire country?), Neeti Palta is known for her feminist jokes. She has been extremely successful and with good reason – she brings in the much-missing female perspective on various subjects and “occasionally” takes a dig at men (she does that a lot!!!).The name is enough to get you perked up to at least tag along with your friends for a show. Post which we guarantee you will be following her on social media and forwarding her tweets to everyone you know. A female comedian in an industry which is male dominated (isn’t our entire country?), Neeti Palta is known for her feminist jokes. She has been extremely successful and with good reason – she brings in the much-missing female perspective on various subjects and “occasionally” takes a dig at men (she does that a lot!!!). She founded Delhi’s most successful and the oldest comedy outfit – The Loony Goons.
One of the ‘nicer’ comedians (you know the kinds whose shows you can PROBABLY take your parents to?), Abish Mathew is known for his puns and bad one-liners. He plays the guitar, sings, dances, plays sports and is, of course, a stand-up comedian as well. From stand-up to musical comedy to improvisation, Abish is pumped up on stage. He calls himself a ‘comedy slut’, having worked with nearly every comedy troupe, and now hosts his own show, Son Of Abish, at the Canvas Laugh Factory, Mumbai.
We are proud to say that the Indian comedy scene is being taken by storm by another lady, Aditi Mittal. It takes a lot to go on stage to be funny in front of an Indian audience that, quite honestly, has no sense of humour. Taking everything personally is our forte and screaming “mere bhai ko kya bola?” is a skill that no other country in the world possesses!Just four years old on the stage and making sure her audiences end up in splits, Aditi Mittal kills it with her witty and intelligent humour. Secure in her place amongst the top 10 comedians of our country, Mittal speaks about tampons as nonchalantly as she does about the Ms. India contestants. She also goes by certain other personalities – Dr. Mrs. Lutchuke (a Marathi sexpert), Dolly Khurana (a Punjabi film reviewer), and Andrea (the hot starlet who wants to make it big in Bollywood).
A humor prodigy that took the internet route to expose his gifted self to the world, Kenneth Sebastian is one that would have you look into the not-so-distant future and sit up and question your actions today. Questioning everyday habits, Sebastian has stirring and witty takes on the socio-political stories of the day. With his Sundays practically non-extant in order to accommodate his busy online schedules of entertaining through his own versions of improv comedy, this man (and his Youtube channel) is one to look out for.
Watch him weave magic here in this performance at Alliance Francaise:
It takes a lot to go on stage to be funny in front of an Indian audience that, quite honestly, has no sense of humour. Taking everything personally is our forte and screaming “mere bhai ko kya bola?” is a skill that no other country in the world possesses! Amidst such an intolerant society – and the knowledge of the danger they put themselves in – these young comedians don’t just display the guts their chosen profession demands but also face a soulless faceless crowd with élan. For this we applaud them.
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