These Indians are good at making us all laugh

By Anu Jose

The Indian All Star Comedy Showcase gave an Indian flavour to the Melbourne Comedy Festival and a new notion that Indians are capable of stand up. Starring Sorabh Pant, Azeem Banatwalla, Rahul Subramanian and Aditi Mittal the audience were kept laughing and at times shuddering as they made fun of Indians, Australians, Chinese, religion, cricket and sex. Of course also proclaiming the invention of the Kama Sutra. There is a danger for Indian comedians to resort to clichés but the balance from this group was just right and the non-Indians in the crowd were laughing as much as the Indians.

The engineer jokes while predictable were delivered well and got the desired laughs, the ”˜bobbing’ of the head was made fun of and numerous references to Indian lateness (with many Indians in the audience arriving more than 30 minutes late) and traffic comparisons between Melbourne and Mumbai.

Aditi Mittal, stand-up comedian, actress and writer is a very funny lady. Mittal introduced the acts plus delivered her own routine. One of the first female Indian stand-up comedians, she is a breath of fresh air entertaining festival goers with her wit insightful view of life. She relayed the three types of Indians. First, taxi drivers and engineers who have been living abroad for a while and hate other Indians, second native Indians who are ”˜wealthy’, can travel and can afford an iphone and the third type is the sad poor Indians that westerners love to talk about. Aditi drew many laughs when she confessed to being a ”˜washer’ not a ”˜wiper’ and told of holding her water bottle proudly for all to see when using public toilets. There was the usual discussion about Indians travelling abroad and westerner’s astonishment with how well English is spoken.

There were funny anecdotes about bhang and Holi and the effects on parents and children alike and how family bonding is improved.

There was an uncomfortable silence when Sorabh Pant told audiences that terrorists have read only one book. He then broke the silence and made the audience comfortable again by saying they also misunderstood that book. Azeem Banatwalla being a Muslim himself, did make fun of his religion but also the Catholics. He commented on the Pope being able to choose their own names and why not Pope Mohammad!

For next year, Aditi Mittal needs her own show. We got a taste of her sense of humour and we need to see more of what she can deliver. Indians aren’t associated with stand up in the same way they are synonymous with engineering and medicine so the more comedy from the Sub continent is a positive. It’s also refreshing for the younger Indian generation to know there are alternative career paths.

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