Indian flavour in Melbourne comedy festival brings plenty of laughter

By Anu Jose

An Indian flavour was added to this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Opening with Sumit Anand making fun of Indian people always being late, and pointing out those particular latecomers. He then commented about Indian mother’s obsession with their children becoming doctors and engineers. He easily engaged with individuals in the audience and his banter with the mix of Indian and non-Indian audience was friendly and not the usual comedic interrogation causing people to sink lower in their seats.

Goa’s Daniel Fernandez continued to entertain by explaining plug points are different globally, to represent racisism. It ensures foreigners never fit in! He noted cultural differences between India and Australia, where we ask ”˜how are you going’ which can be taken quite literally with an answer of uber. Fernandez was shocked Melbourne’s restaurants close by 11pm, contrasting to India where starvation is prolific but food can be obtained any time of the night. He made fun of the vegemite sandwich and an Australian’s disbelief at his ”˜good’ English. His political commentary on Brexit and Trump got many laughs, pointing out every Indian’s understanding of Brexit ramifications regardless of education levels while those in the UK were only googling it after the event.

Neeti Palta from New Delhi was next to come. Sassy, smart and edgy, she did not disappoint. Clearly enjoying herself on stage, making fun of feminists, herself, giving reasons for India’s low divorce rate and the many uses for the sari blouse. The final act was Sapan Varma whose insights into Melbourne’s coffee culture (directly coming from the alcohol culture), Indian’s natural assumed ability in mathematics and the beef ban in India kept the audience attentive and laughing out loud.

The comedians didn’t fall into the trap of too many clichés between Melbourne (Australia) and India. Although some of their observations were obvious. India and Indian culture was the basis of most of their jokes but not alienating a non-Indian audience. They could all make fun of themselves and their critics on You Tube

Indian stand up is relatively new. After all what Indian mother is going to encourage any of their children to pursue comedy as a career but it was encouraging to see serious talent and passion from all four comedians.

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