Thursday evening at The Biere Club brought together two Indian comedians as part of the East India Comedy Show. Opening the first innings was Abijit Ganguly. Dressed in a Captain America t-shirt, Abijit started his routine by picking on two male friends who chose to share a table, right in front of the stage. While they claimed otherwise, the gentlemen had clearly never been to a stand-up comedy show. At such shows, Newton’s principles of stand-up comedy almost always hold true – Your distance from the stage is inversely proportional to your chances of being picked on by the stand-up comedian. But Abijit was quite kind and let the gentlemen go off the hook fairly easily.
Abijit’s forty five minute routine was very lively where he took up contemporary Indian problems and made everyone laugh. From how social media has changed the way we greet everyone on religious holidays like Diwali to the recent ‘Sharapova doesn’t know Tendulkar’ controversy, and not to forget Indian politics, Abijit had everyone in splits. A fair part of Abijit’s routine included subtle self-deprecating humour that covered a girlfriend who doesn’t like to spend money, Bengali traditions and his Tata Indica that always gets confused for a taxi.
The later part of the routine focused on all the very relatable problems like marriage in India, playing cricket in building societies growing up and the reality of how we treat people based on the tone of their skin. Abijit Ganguly pulled off a tight set that had the audience laughing right from the word go, setting the mood perfectly for the second comedian of the evening.
Next up was Radhika Vaz, a New York-based ad professional who found her calling in stand up comedy. Radhika’s unabashed style of comedy took some of the more uncomfortable topics that the Indian audiences aren’t used to discussing and putting a funny twist on it. These included topics such as how women’s underwear is related to clean floors, waxing, women’s hygiene and more. While parts of the audience were visibly uncomfortable with the topics, they still laughed at all the right places.
Radhika’s set titled ‘Older, Angrier Hairier’ is a very unladylike set where Radhika talks about the challenges and archaic mindset she has to face as a middle-aged woman in today’s world. Radhika took a poke at traditions like older men marrying only women who are younger than them, the pressure of women to hide their age as they grow older, cosmetics, why Jennifer Lopez is the worst role-model for a middle-aged woman and more. She also described, rather graphically, the origins of the word ‘sour puss’.
Towards the end of the set, I did see a few women point at their significant other’s and say ‘That’s so you’. A slightly uncomfortable yet engaging and insightful forty five minutes from the extremely animated Radhika Vaz was a very nice way to end the evening’s proceedings. You can check out some of the routines from both Abijit and Radhika on YouTube and make sure you catch them at their next gig in your city.
Article & Images By: Nikhilesh Murthy
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