Sketched comedy and freedom of speech

MUMBAI,Aditi Mittal: You have to be very witty and in tune with the audience and your co-players in order to be able to extract the humour or the story telling from the present moment. Currently groups that practise this are Schitzengiggles and the Improvisers. On CNwK, improv is when he spontaneously breaks into a funny dialogue with his audience or with the celebrity guest? That’s a form of improv.

In a time where freedom of speech is under fire literally as well as figuratively, I beg you to watch comedy. You may have youtube and you may have TV, but there is a vibrant local scene in almost every metro in India right now that, I believe is the most active and alive form of social protest. When you stand on stage or stand in the audience of a comedy show- you literally take a stand for what you believe in. The message is loud and clear- we will not let go of our freedom of expression and thought.

As someone who has now been doing (and still trying to) comedy in India for the past five years- I’d like to if I may venture a gander to elucidating the TYPES of comedy one would see in the Indian market. (I’ll be using Comedy Nights With Kapil as a format, it’s not ideal, but the one we are MOST familiar with) Stand Up Comedy- This is the newer form of comedy that seems to have gained popularity. On stage- it is normally just a person with a microphone, this person sometimes uses a guitar to sing a funny song or a simple prop. This is normally low on production and the focus is on the performer and what they are saying.

Examples of this include none other than Johnny Lever- his show Johnny Lever live is currently running to packed houses all over the nation. What Kapil Sharma does in the first six minutes of every episode of Comedy Nights with Kapil where he speaks directly to the audience? THAT’s stand-up comedy. (The lesser we say about the rest of the 16 minutes of the show-the better)

Sketch comedy: This is comedy that normally involves two or more people playing various characters. It can be high or low on production depending on the kind of show it is and there is a liberal use of props, music, acting and other media to supplement the show. The focus is on the content but also in the WAY that it is delivered.

An example of this could be the amazing Flop Show that played on television in the 90’s. On the current urban Indian LIVE landscape there are shows like Weirdass Comedy’s “Night for Louvers” and “Rinse Cycle.” What gutthi and bua try to do on Comedy Nights with Kapil after his stand-up segment? That’s sketch comedy.

Improv- Improv is probably the newest and least known form of comedy but it is a team of four to six players who appear on stage at the same time. To me, this is the toughest because it requires you to take suggestions and ideas from the audience and make up things ON THE SPOT. (And yes, stand-up and sketch comedy do have elements of improv.)

You have to be very witty and in tune with the audience and your co-players in order to be able to extract the humour or the story telling from the present moment. Currently groups that practise this are Schitzengiggles and the Improvisers. On CNwK, improv is when he spontaneously breaks into a funny dialogue with his audience or with the celebrity guest? That’s a form of improv.

So, get out, stand-up. Be a part of the protest. Even if you love it, even if you hate it. But I implore you- don’t be indifferent to it. A society where people do not speak up- secrets will be the main currency and as a public- we know that we will not emerge winners in an environment like that. Comedy, is one of the basic survival instincts of a race. A world without it is literally, no fun.