Of stereotypes, laughter and insensitivity

Comedy Show

There’s nothing that Bangaloreans love more than a good laugh — which was exactly what they got at the Alliance Francaise, recently, during ‘Man and Superwoman’, a stand-up show featuring three well-known comedians. The no-holds-barred event seemed to push the boundaries of appropriateness.

First up on stage was Shyam Bhat, a comedian-cum-psychiatrist from namma Bengaluru. Being a newly-returned NRI, his jokes were a careful blend of local and international humour — they borrowed heavily from foreign references, including the cliched ‘happy ending massage’, but remained relatable.

Whether he was poking fun at the supposed modern women in the corporate world, who are continuously putting finishing touches on their presentations or indulging in some Bangalore-based stereotypes: “you guys don’t look like you’re from India — unless you’re from Whitefield?” he kept the audience giggling throughout his stint on stage.

His style of comedy was cheerfully irreverent, be it his description of an Americanised Gandhiji, who was more interested in dandiya than the Dandi March, or an indifferent Mother Teresa who couldn’t be bothered to feed the hungry. He finished off his routine with a typical take on marital discord, slipping in a line in Kannada, and then
saying, “Let me translate that for all you people from Koramangala.”

Next up was Aditi Mittal, comedian extraordinaire from Mumbai. There was nothing understated about her; in fact, her exaggerated mimicries and larger-than-life gestures were what endeared her to the audience. Neither were her jokes particularly sensitive.

She likened the average Indian’s attitude to sanitary napkins as being reminiscent of Lord Voldemort — “that-which-must-not-be-named”, claimed that India’s attitude to fashion is very Manmohan-like — “‘agar Italians ne kiye, toh karna hi padega”, then spoke at length about her hatred for kids, claiming that there are times when she wants to inform them that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, and they aren’t really going to be astronauts when they grow up.

She improvised wildly at times, telling a few audience members who were late, “Welcome, can I get you something? Coffee? A watch?” and reducing the audience to laughter at regular intervals. 

The third — and perhaps most outrageous — comedian to hit the stage was Gursimran Khamba. Known for classic lines and his rib-tickling take on our political system, his jokes were brash and rather uncouth, but at the same time kept the audience in splits. He made countless political references, drew heavily on stereotypes and made it an evening worth remembering.

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