A State of ‘Miss’teria

A midst the clouds of grey and chilly evenings, there was a storm brewing. You could hear the sounds of thunderous roaring laughter. Or so I thought. But then I got a rude shock when I snapped back to reality. What you may ask am I talking about? Let’s rewind a bit.

Well, what could be better to lighten up an otherwise dull season of celebration and social gatherings than a heavy dose of laughter? So when a store of comedy  decided to introduce Pune to the culture of stand-up comedy, of course I was intrigued. Intrigued to know what exactly it is that could actually make the citizens of Pune fall off their seats in a state of hysteria.

In a city that just absolutely loves to try out everything in hopes of becoming the next Mumbai, this as usual turned into a Page 3 event.  That in itself displays the city’s sense of humour. No complaints there. Whatever sells out a full house, I say.

And so it began. The stage is set, people scurry to their seats and the lights are dimmed. The compere takes centre stage. A charming fellow, bursting with energy who set the mood. After a funny introduction and a couple of good jokes here and there, I thought to myself, ‘this is pretty good’. And it was.

That is of course until the real show began. I’m not going to diss anyone here but let me just say this, it was a snooze fest. I think the reactions (or lack thereof) in the audience was much more amusing than the show. But that was just the first act. After an intermission, I was hoping that it would get better. It did. But after a few high notes in the act, I he began to sing his own song of sadness. It’s unfortunate though because it was much better. Maybe after a really dull first act, this was slightly better. Only slightly.

And that’s the tricky thing about stand up comedy. You’ve got to keep it short and entertaining. Plus, you really have to UNDERSTAND your audience. Yes we’re Asian. Yes we’re brown. And hell yes, we are patriotic. While some bits maybe be appealing in one country or city, it just might be outright tacky in another.

I’m no stand up comedian but I most certainly have a sense of humour. This however, didn’t really leave me longing for more. I was just waiting for it to come to and end. I tried my best to sit through to the end. But with a bar just outside, I could wait no longer.

They really did underestimate the city’s sense of humour and tastes. Sure, we maybe in the shadow of the state capital as a city, but hey, we’re very aware of what’s hot and what’s not. We are a city of well-travelled and well-read citizens. That doesn’t mean that people can pull the wool over our eyes and expect us to go ga-ga over every fad and trend presented to us. In this case, any performer to crack a couple of sad jokes and expect us to embrace this new phenomenon.

I definitely appreciated the effort. And perhaps I did have great expectations. I heard great reviews of this In Mumbai and indeed expected something great. After all, it was meant to make us laugh.

I love stand up comedy, have seen a couple of shows abroad too. Which is why I was excited to know that it made its debut here. Unfortunately, in this city, things don’t stay on for very long. Especially if it doesn’t appeal to many.  And especially if it’s not commercial. It’s just the way the you measure success of anything here. I’m not saying it’s for the masses but even for the niche, it fell flat.

Word has it that this was just a dry run. And that is exactly what it was. It was dry and it made us run.

I do hope that they come back again soon though. This time hopefully with better and bigger acts. Because stand-up comedy has great potential in this city and there is a demand for it.

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