You've got to be kidding!

You’ve got to be kidding!
© Provided by Mid-Day

In A book we often revisit, Willy Wonka says the Oompa-Loompas are always laughing; they think everything is a colossal joke. When Charlie buys a chocolate bar with Grandpa Joe’s savings and it doesn’t fetch him a golden ticket, they burst into peals of laughter. The reaching after a reason for laughs may or may not be met with relish. Yet, the ones who laugh in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stand away from the Salts, the Gloops and the Teavees.

Even in the moment, laughter heals. Comedy Wagon’s Mumbai Comedy Festival with its opening night kicking off this week might just help you stand with the Buckets — away from the likes of the Gloops.

Anuvab Pal will present a new set of jokes that will involve tidbits on the pandemic

Live audience thrills

It will be Anuvab Pal’s first performance in the city in the last three years. The stand-up comic with a theatre background is thrilled to face a live audience after a long pause. He shares with a laugh, “I was in the United Kingdom for a couple of years, but now that I am back, people inform me of new developments. The government is reading our messages. I only hope it replies on my behalf too.” Pal’s set comes with a fresh series of jokes and will include a fair bit about the pandemic. As our chat digresses, we discuss the growing prominence of censorship to which Pal adds, “Figuring out a way to write for a particular audience is tricky. One has to do that.” He elaborates in a bid to not attract notice for the wrong reasons, a creator can’t dish out inaccessible content; it is a double-edged sword.

Pal, who shuttles between Kolkata and Mumbai for shows, has an ‘interesting’ take on their audiences: “If tickets for a jokes night in Kolkata are priced on the higher side, you won’t have an eager, better-read audience. On the contrary, the Bombay audience is more broad-based and doesn’t directly fluctuate to price alterations.”

The two-minute lag

Being up and about on stage is a relief for comedian Aishwarya Mohanraj, who is not sure if she will be presenting her set on dating or crime shows. “You calling me is a sign that I should decide on one soon. I have been doing both for sometime now; I haven’t decided on my piece in its entirety.” We are slowly getting back to some semblance of normalcy — to that she says, “It is 100 per cent better than having to connect with people on Zoom. I absolutely enjoy doing live shows. It’s nice to see a physical audience, as you can interact and don’t have to hear laughs after a two-minute lag.” Even the half-strength rule works for Mohanraj, as tickets are mostly sold out. “As a regular at That Comedy Club, I’d say having even 25 addressees at the most can help in testing your material,” she maintains.

Kaneez Surka. Pic/Instagram

Apart from Pal, the first night of the show will present comedians Biswa Kalyan Rath, Anirban Dasgupta, Urooj Ashfaq and Sonali Thakker. The carnival that will keep laugh-diggers hooked for a month will also witness solo sets by comics Kaneez Surka, Prashasti Singh, Sapan Verma, Shashwat Maheshwari and Masoom Rajwani, among others. In light of Munawar Farooqui’s show being recently cancelled in Bengaluru for no legit motive, Ashfaq adds, “It is difficult to write honestly in these times without fearing for your safety.” She will be cracking jokes on herself, random everyday things that spur her and on therapy.  

From: December 3 to January 2 

At: NCPA, Nariman Point, and St Andrew’s Auditorium and That Comedy Club, Bandra.

Log on to: in.bookmyshow.com

Cost: Rs 299 onwards

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