Millennium Post

Tickling the funny bone

It was an evening of fun and laughter. The month long Foster’s LOL evenings came to an end last Saturday with a solo act by comedian Vir Das, a familiar face on the comic scene and even movie screens now.

Titled ‘Vir Das’ Resentuary’, a lot of people turned up to watch Vir Das do the final act. Hosted by Gursimranjeet Khamba, the night kicked off with some hilarious gigs by the host. The topic: being a Surd. He went on to describe south Indian men and south Indian porn in a manner which might have turned on many.

The event also had two amateurs — Vikram Jeet and Zakir Khan — competing to be part of Das’ comic acts in future. Vikram Jeet kicked off with some funny and not-so-funny takes on being a surd and Delhi boys being rejected by girls. He was commended by the host as being the only Surd from Rajouri Garden who could speak English. Zakir was liked more and cheered by the crowd. His punch line ‘I may look like a labourer but am not from Bihar’ won him many hoots and laughs.

Khamba played the entertaining host of a hysterical show and went on to introduce the mellow Ravi Darshan which marked the entry of Das.

The acclaimed comedian that he is, Das sat on the piano dressed as an old man and came up with some good one liners. Sample this: The DPS MMS girl will soon be giving birth to a BlackBerry boy. Strictly adult stuff — these.

Das’ solo act began after half time. He came up (for the first time by his own admission), with a PPT about a ‘Top Five’ list which, apart from being quite funny, were intelligent and interesting takes on various subjects. From the ‘five idiots’ who run the country to the top five bulls**t news printed by leading newspapers — the topics touched everything.

One among these was how Mamata Banerjee manages to make even people older than her call her didi (elder sister). Next on the list was Narendra Modi who was termed ‘Gujarati genocide’. Up next was Sharad Pawar. Das likes Mayawati ‘because she looks like a dude’ but then again, he hates her for being ‘a penguin with an UP accent’.

Das also took on some popular stereotypes, like the common belief that all Delhi men are rapists (‘many are also murderers first and then rapists’, Das said), or south Indians being smarter than the rest (‘if you are ugly then that does not make you automatically smart’, he quipped), Bengalis are intelligent, Gujaratis are good with money (‘they are just sober’) and more.

Very hilarious were his takes on religious issues like circumcision, prohibitions to drink, Ganesh Chaturthi, Parsi and Christian weddings (which he dubbed safedi shop).

Vir Das did the famous Baba Ramdev ‘stomach churning’. He thrashed Mallya for being skinny and rich and Shashi Tharoor was declared too goodlooking to be a politician.

What made the night even more amusing was the spur-of-the-moment interaction with the audience — where a girl who had come along with her five male friends was told ‘Please don’t judge Draupadi.’

The top fives ended with Das rubbishing a leading newspaper for putting up golf course apartments on the front page and with this he declared the Top 5 bullshit news.

The contest was won by Zakir Khan (‘and he definitely does not know what to do with it!’ said Das) and he gets to gig with Das in his future acts. The event ended with Vir Das announcing his five upcoming films to be watched out for.

Overall the gags were hilarious, the crowd was enthusiastic, the host was edgy and Das was funny as always. It was two hours of intelligent, sarcastic, sharp, well executed and hilarious performances.

For host Khamba, the fear of banning comic acts is a real one. ‘Any art form if used to voice dissent comes under attack and India is already a hyper sensitive place. So there is some level of self-censorship that already happens,’ he said. ‘Stand-up, when it gets bigger and more people start getting exposed to it, will also come under threat. Even now we have enough people who get annoyed. And for some reason individual sentiments are more important than protecting the absolute right of expression. So yes, it will happen very soon,’ he added.

‘Our job is to get people to laugh and think about things in a way they haven’t before. The idea is not to get dictated by fear because then you’ve already lost,’ he further explained.  

Is stand-up comedy helping? ‘The crowd that comes to these events can laugh it off because they are already on your side. Though, by being an English stand-up comic you’re already preaching to the choir,’ he said.

How about competition from comedy shows aired on television? ‘Television in india is the lowest common denominator levels of comedy. Mimicry and Bollywood, that’s about it,’ Khamba said.  

So as we ban every other anti-religion book, The Dirty Picture on the small screen and cartoons in text books for the wider audience, there is a fraction of audience in the metro cities which enjoys the wider meaning of humour and sarcasm. And Delhi surely does look forward to many more such fun-filled evenings.
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