If you find comedians in drag (the Dolly Aunty types) pushing the OTT envelope absolutely unbearable, or you want to reach for a gun every time someone cracks a Santa-Banta joke, you need a dose of Angad Singh Ranyal. The skinniest Sikh known to India’s stand-up comedy scene, Angad’s breezy, observational and sophisticated comedy — on topics ranging from his parents to politics and even apna Uber — has made him a much-loved character within India’s community of funnymen and fans alike. If you haven’t binged on his YouTube channel or stalked him at stage shows from Amritsar to Kuala Lumpur, allow us to offer a five-point presentation on why you should do so immediately…
TRUST THE NUMBERS
The man’s no greenhorn and he has the data to prove it. Though Angad has only been in the comedy business for a few years, the 29-year-old funnyman has performed over 500 shows across India, Singapore and Malaysia; as well as approximately 150 corporate shows. As a member of the hugely popular East India Comedy, he’s rocked sketch comedy, specials such as ‘EIC vs. Bollywood’ and spewed venom on ‘EIC Outrage’ too. Not long ago, CNN-IBN listed him as one of India’s top 20 comedians “to watch out for” (see who else made this list) and to prove it, Angad pulls guffaws at hip venues like Mumbai’s Canvas Laugh Club and Hard Rock Café in Delhi. His plan for the next year includes touring with his special and creating a long-format series. “I have been an upcoming comedian for the past 2 years, so basically I am the Afridi of the stand-up world,” he ripostes, poker-faced. That’s his brand of funny.
HE’S BONA FIDE ‘PLU’
Angad Singh Ranyal doesn’t speak in a fake American accent, wearing a black tee and a hat while peppering his acts with exclamations like “dyam” or “drat”. He is definitely ‘people like us’ — an urban, middle-class Delhi boy, a self-confessed “average student and sportsman,” an engineer with a management degree from NMIMS in Mumbai and a short-lived career peddling furniture at Pepperfry. He even has a wife and parents that he clearly dotes on, because they feature so often in his acts. Further, he doesn’t lug around a kit of heavily embellished hilarious stories of his life that sound funny, but are obviously fake. “As a kid, I never imagined that I’ll become a comedian,” Angad readily admits. We believe him. He’s a comedian because quick wit comes naturally to him. Bottom line: this Mr. Ranyal is the real deal!
There’s a thin line between funny and crass. Ranyal is hyper aware of that line and has planted himself largely in the former section. Perhaps a chunk of time spent growing up in Libya makes him just that little bit less of a testosterone-filled launda. You can walk into his show without the fear of being constantly attacked by a stream of cuss words or one racy joke after the other, strung together so thick and juicy, you lose your appetite for lunch and dinner! Our bespectacled turbanator is that rarity — an Indian comedian who doesn’t resort to unceasing abusive language to evoke giggles and guffaws from his audience. Yes, you can expect some adult material but it’s not OTT. Truth be told, Ranyal’s comedy influences appear to be key to his oeuvre — he discovered stand-up by downloading illegal torrents of Russell Peters and Louis CK (both comedians feature in this story). These legends are famous for their sarcasm and offensive missiles, but have standards that they maintain. Ranyal also admits to have chuckled through the gentle heartland comedy of Raju Srivastava (thumbs up) and The Great Indian Laughter Challenge (we’ll forgive him for that; everyone has flaws).
ENTER THE NON-MISOGYNY ZONE
Misogyny and misandry often appear as the evil twins of the stand-up scene. Casually sexist remarks couched in guffaws and group laughter often extends to incessant bashing of the opposite sex. The stand-ups then seem very funny, but infinitely more bitter and frustrated. Ranyal isn’t given to long rants on women’s driving skills, shopping habits and bridezilla horror stories. His observational humour on relationships rings true and is fun. Case in point is a sketch on midnight calls to his ladylove post a fight. Ranyal met his wife Anubhuti Ahuja in an MBA class and he talks about her just enough to not sound obsessively in love or, conversely, teetering on the precipice of an early separation.
HE’S NOT YOUR TYPICAL SARDAR
This Singh ain’t got no bling. No sequined turbans, nor a genial grin plastered on his face all day. If you follow him on Twitter (@PiratedSardar) or have seen his TEDx talk (an MBA presentation on the art and business of stand-up comedy), you’ll know he’s not hilarious 24x7 — and that doesn’t bother him at all. He doesn’t ever break into spontaneous Honey Singh songs on stage and he’s a self-confessed darpok Punjabi too! It all adds up to the magic of a great act — check him out here to see for yourself!
Angad will host Black Dog Easy Evenings at the KGA in Bengaluru on November 10. You can also catch him live at The Park in Vizag on November 11 and at Novotel in Hyderabad on November 12, 2017. Don’t miss these shows!
Image Credits: eastindiacomedy; twitter
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