Standup Comedy: The Misunderstood Art

Kanan and Biswa

A night that was. That still is. From Mandava to Shaad, to Biswa and finally to Kanan, (I went to see Biswa, by the way, HE IS THE BEST!!) the night was not just a matter of laughing our hearts out and going back home (I am still upset that they didn’t interact with us **furious**), it was also a shuttle of perspectives on life.

Pardon the philosophizing if it seems too unnecessary, it was after all,the first such “live” event that I attended. Also because there is this thing called free internet in our college)

Each stand up comedian needs to be paid attention to.They need be understood from the lens of the social constructs that they are embedded into. No they are not just court jesters. No they are not there to offend, or be loved or to purposefully antagonise. They stand there proud and alone, bravely holding a shiny mirror of us people, right in our faces. They are sharp minds, carrying their social constructs on their sleeves (which is evident in their comedy), sweetening the bitter judgements they pass, with their humour injecting capabilities. Yes, they are a teeny weeny bit ruthless at times, but that’s because it’s not easy, uncovering the obstinate and multiple layers of pretensions that flow like blood through capillaries in our society. And not just pretentions. Sometimes it may be a silly rule that everyone follows, because, everyone follows. All this and more, that exercises an inexplicable force on all of us, slyly homogenising everyone into herds.

It is Comedy that breaks the tyranny of homogenisation, and, of all that goes on for the sake of having been going on since long for no reason at all.

However, that does not mean that the stand-up comedians are “the” tellers. Stand up comedy is often taken as offence of, because of the audience’s perception of a disagreeable and an emphatic labelisation by the comedian. Labels, which maybe even the artists didn’t intend to chart out. Because true comedy is a process, a struggle to not label, but to understand human behavior, both individual and collective. This process struggles to be free of love, hate or prejudice for the subject, to establish a relation of honesty with it. The kind of honesty seen in the works of Biswa, Kenny Sebastian ,Aditi Mittal, Daniel Fernandes.

The age we live in reduces our attention span. The media that caters to us can’t be trusted for its intentions. In that age, a daring stand up comedian, true to his/her subject, is a thumbs up to the realization of who we truly are, and to the hope of a progressive society that is in touch with its roots but also accommodative of change. They are out there breaking all the unspoken rules, saying things no one wants to talk about , and also tickling our funny bones at the same time. Also, Biswa is the best. Just saying. :D

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