Comedy with a twist

Comedy with a twist

Concept shows

Comedy with a twist

The City saw a revolution of a different kind a few years ago — the saga of standup comedy. It became one of the most sought-after art forms and the audience, always hungry for humour, drove its success. With talent driving popularity and vice versa, standup comedians increasingly experimented with their forte and brewed fresh scripts, jokes and formats. 

A new format, concept shows or productions have recently caught the attention of the ‘comedy-fawning’ audience. 

Far from a regular standup show which is mostly scripted, concept shows leave comedians at the mercy of the audience and their ideas, and are made to improvise on these suggestions. Comedians explain that each production is different and funny in its own right. While some may lean more towards the format of a ‘standup improv’, others need not. 

Kritarth Srinivasan, Vamsidhar Bhogaraju, Siddharth Banerjee and Satish Perumal will present a concept show, ‘WTF Just Happened’, this weekend. 

They will play a number of games with the audience, make fun of videos and weave jokes around situations with the help of the audience. Kritarth says, “After every standup show of ours, some uncle comes and tells us that we were great but could have tried out jokes from the internet. To help these ideas come true, we thought we could put together a concept show where the audience can give us their suggestions. None of these jokes have been done before and they will never be told again. Each concept show is different and the jokes are told on the spot.” 

Concept productions have no structured rules and the show, ‘Historycal’, that will also take place this weekend, stands testimony to this. Four comedians will come together to talk about their personal stories. 

Ahmed says, “I did a show sometime back called ‘Small Town Frustrations Unleashed’, with 3 other comedians who grew up in small towns. We presented funny Power Point presentations of the perils of growing up in small towns. We were careful not to use jokes from our regular standup act as the audience might feel cheated. In this concept show, we don’t intend to make people laugh; rather, we want them to listen to an engrossing story. And it may not necessarily be a funny one. My story, for example, is full of suspense and some what tragic, and is peppered with humour. Our host, Rupen Paul will tie all our styles together and Naveen Richard will start the show with his funny story. I come in between with my tragic story and Praveen will close the show.” 

For ‘Historycal’, most of them are well-prepared. Ahmed says, “In a live music show, it is evident if you miss a beat or a note. Standup comedy is not as rigid and structured. It is a lot more malleable. People can’t really spot a mistake or a ‘mess-up’, only we would know.” 

With successful concept productions like ‘The IT Show’ and ‘Small Town Frustrations Unleashed’, standup artistes are glad that the audience is open to new ideas, which often leads to the success of such productions. And they hope that such formats become more popular.