Over the past few years, stand-up comedy has emerged as a prominent form of entertainment in India as a consequence of rapid digitization and easy access to content via platforms like YouTube and Hotstar.
The Indian audience, once upon a time completely immersed in Bollywood, is finally exploring other existing art forms including stand-up comedy. Open mic and stand-up shows are no longer just a western phenomenon, but are gradually also becoming acknowledged options for us, Indians, as well. Comedy clubs and open mic shows and tours are gaining a steady popularity.
Riveted by this pop-culture, Raipur also witnessed an open mic evening last Saturday at „It’s Me Café‟ (beautiful décor, btw!). It was a pleasure being a part of the eager audience, contributing my bit of cheers for this laudable endeavour. It was a delightful surprise to know that the organizer was “Knife Edge Comedy” (KEC), homegrown in Raipur and Bhilai, rather than a conventional, established touring comedy clubs. KEC has been striving hard to introduce the art of stand-up comedy to us, Raipuriyas (high time we abandon the “Wednesday 50 mein PVR” offer). Good news is that people have finally begun to appreciate the shows they have been organizing in Raipur and Bhilai and acknowledging that these shows cater to and render better options for leisure.
I have attended a few stand-up shows during my stay in Delhi, mostly those by the established touring comics, who trend on virtual platforms frequently. Unlike in Raipur, the scenario in Delhi is more seasoned, matured, and well-established (well, don‟t worry! Delhi is mocked by the NY comic scene anyway!), so I presumed perhaps it will be a dreary event as Raipur’s comedy scene is still in its nascent phase. Aren’t we, humans, too volatile and capricious! But, my prejudice was to shatter soon. I was left flabbergasted by the content delivered by the artists, Aniket Deshpande, Vaibhav Upadhyay, Prasoon Shukla. And the host, Himanshu Uikey ensured Raipur had a good laugh.
Let me tell you already that you‟re wrong if you‟re presuming this guy here must be getting a handsome reward for such high praise of the show. I was, in fact, enthralled by the artists and did actually laugh out loud opposed to the many fake LOLs online. A sense of pride enveloped me every time I was reminded that that things are finally happening for Raipur. Since I enjoy freelancing, I enquired about the artists and was pleased to know that some of them have been often involved with the Mumbai and Delhi comic scenes. These veterans (as I‟d love to call them) and debutantes alike were glad and humbled by the approving response of a mature audience. With each successive comical performance, the sound of giggles and appreciative claps ascended. The vibe of live performance and cheers that stunned me that evening cannot be matched by the Bermuda Triangle of headphones and a flat screen. It is so refreshing to finally have better weekend options. Raipur has finally kick-started its scooter in the direction of creative leisure scenes!
I conclude by beseeching you to push yourself outdoors and to catch up with Raipur’s emerging comedy scene. Cut stress some slack and invest precious moments in a carefree and joyful evening. Follow KEC and keep up with what they’re upto on social media!
Written by: Shivam Singh, Free ‘Spirit’ Lancer
Edited by: Ankita Vashisht, A lawyer by day and a proofreader sometimes, dabbling in prose and poetry herself
Pictures by: Abhimanyu Jha, Batman (nuff’ said)