Laughter And Contemplation: What Did Stand-Up Comedies Achieve So Far?
Stand-up comedy has become the medium where people are at the liberty to make the best usage of a platform to talk about issues that require utmost attention. I have been a ‘doubting Thomas’ all this while when my peers used to go gaga over comedians and their wily way of addressing social issues, mostly with the intent of doing away with the ridiculous and absurd. One can, therefore, justify the surging popularity of these shows, where speakers are eloquent on subjects pertinent to the present socio-political scenario. These shows are bound to give you a whale of a time with their farce and satire sprinkled with powerful social commentaries, elevating themselves on a pedestal higher than normal jibber-jabber.
Story Of A Confused Hindu Examinee!
Stand-up comedy, tracing its roots back to vaudeville, which enjoyed unsurpassed popularity in the late 1880s, has gained significance of enormous amount these days. I remember coming across the hilarious Indian Superstitions by Raunaq Rajani, who staged in a retrospective manner an amusing portrayal of an Indian superstitious kid striving to decode the symbolic image of a cross on his exam paper that his teacher has scrawled. After struggling to come to terms with the imposition of a cross, he turns it into a swastika drawing roaring laughter from the audience.
The issue is deeper than its visible crust of absurdity of the kid’s tragedy, who being a staunch Hindu scribbles Om on the margins a practice rooted into his religious tenets, placed in the backdrop is a Catholic school. How many of us actually realize the quagmire of religious symbols that bind us so tightly to suffocate us? Rajani with his wit and wordplay made me laugh at the ridiculousness of the entire system of organized religion that has resulted in the labyrinthine confusion of colossal nothing.
Surge In Popularity Of Stand-up Comedians
As a major part of pop culture, stand-up comedy has done a commendable job by not restricting itself to religion and caste, the artists constantly nourishing themselves with wit, acumen and judgement, not to mention a certain degree of audacity to perform with elegance. Throughout the show, we get many other instances of superstitions and practices that takes us back to our childhood, a time when we held these beliefs closer to us. The surging popularity of stand-up comedies is quite welcoming in an era of suppressed individual opinions that shudder to come beyond the peripheries of social networking channels, an atmosphere clogged with political innuendos, bigotry and authoritarian rule. What really fetched my admiration is the capacity to engage people using humour as a powerful weapon, to let words sting the flesh, to dissuade people from becoming numb to their surrounding environment and to have faith in the power of satire.
While talking about contemporary social issues and their domineering presence in stand-up comedies, I would like to mention about this exemplary gentleman who would at once pierce you with his melange of pun and sarcasm, Karunesh Talwar. His methodically crafted ambiguous reaction to pervasive cis-men concepts that society has normalized after nurturing over the centuries would make you rummage through your brains for a possible explanation. His session gets better as it progresses, he talks about perils of falling prey to feminazis, citing incidents that are both real and cretinous. In a nutshell, this queer juxtaposition has made his show unparalleled and relatable to many of us confronting the ridiculousness of an idea which has got tainted by extremists. Far from making derogatory comments or throwing rampant mockery, as are often associated with fun and entertainment, these shows certainly point at the widening fissures in the society, where stereotyping and extremism of every form have accumulated over the years.
Delving Deeper. . .
In a culture where rampant imposition of personal agendas is common, stand-up comedies can be made synonymous to a free space where we have the chance of becoming outsiders in order to view the problems enwrapping us in a detached manner, albeit for a couple of minutes. This self-imposed detachment increases our alertness towards humour when we are actually being liberal enough to appreciate even personal attacks when the speaker is cataloguing it with comic gestures, goodwill and a degree of indignation. Recently, while watching a stint on corporate lives and lack of motivation, a path many amongst us have opted for ourselves often against personal dreams comes into life by artist Anirban Dasgupta. Anirban, like other performers, is not resorting to paraphernalia or costume to fetch audiences.
That is simply not the scenario with stand-up comedy! He reigns the stage solely with an intelligent play on words and expressions, that would help your fidgeting self to come to terms with the monstrosity of corporate life and consumerism, slowly crawling into the bigger picture. Laughter at the face of the most bizarre of situations has become quite a defence mechanism, which is indispensable in today’s times. The spectacles would make you stir your imagination and break into hysterical laughter, something extremely rare to find these days. It is exactly here that stand-up comedy has tried to hurl some sense and thinking towards the audience so that when they walk out of the hall they do so not just with a grin but some serious considerations about contemporary matters as well.
Comedy Bringing About Change One Show At A Time
One cannot simply overlook the intention of these artists making powerful monologues that are capable of bringing forth radical changes, for instance, the gaiety of Sorabh Pant, who in one instance delivers a powerful rant on the present authoritative regime of law and order and its infringement on personal choices. With his powerful oratorical skill, he articulates on the parody of democracy we are now breathing in. Apolitical in nature and honesty are two essential features of this art, that add to the flavour and assembles the younger generation together to take part with a shared perspective. Stand-up comedies are not merely a celebration of humour but a demonstration of its power even under the precarious times where cinema is censored and cartoonists are being sent to jails.
If comedy has the power to fetch more viewers that protests and agitations, more than often connected with party agendas, it is surely meant to sustain here. Audiences time and again have proved that it is possible to engage with a well-construed character on stage who is willing to be diabolical, uncompromising, witty and subtle who nonetheless has the passion to take up social problems unrestricted to class and gender. Stand-up comedies have huge potential to evolve itself as a genre, to use the stage theatricality for the greater good and to engulf people into unified whole like no propagandas had achieved in the past.