I’m not sure how this show skipped my radar but I’m shaking with excitement after having seen the first episode. If you haven’t seen it but are interested in Indian comedy on television, I urge you to watch. You will probably not laugh much but it is fascinating.
The format: Unlike other stand up based talent shows which focus only on individual sets in episodes, the show is broken down into a stand up, improvised stand up and a sketch round. I am not sure how much of the improvised stand up and sketch round is staged or on the spot (it looks like it is because most people are struggling) but it is the first time I’ve seen a format that combines these forms in one show. What’s also interesting is all participants are comics and not traditional improvisers or sketch comics. The results are sketchy but it’s amazing for a show that came out in 2008.
The judges: This show tells you as a comedy fan the difference between having a comic as a judge vis a vis Sidhu. Jaspal Bhatti is on record talking about how the producers of the show kept asking him to laugh even though he wasn’t finding the jokes funny as compared to Sidhu who will come slap your grandma’s ass and laugh if the money is good enough. Unlike Shekhar Suman (who somehow got christened our comic nerve for reasons I still cannot understand) one can see how specific Jaspal Bhatti gets with his comments and subsequently his marks.
He openly calls out a comics joke as being very old and tells Deepak Raja that he was trying to hard to extract a laugh, thus reducing the impact of the attempted joke. Such nuances are things that only comics can pick out, not the layperson. Notice the expressions on veteran and legend Bhagwant Mann’s face alongwith Deepak Raja’s on getting schooled by Bhatti.
While the show attempts the new, it also remains relatively caught up in what defined the television comedy talent show 6 years ago. It’s why you have Divya Dutta playing the seemingly milder foil and the Perizaad Kola stand in as a host who shouts and modulates without adding anything to the show. The paid studio audience ofcourse is clapping at something totally different, perhaps a screening of Salman Khan’s film.
Planning to catch more episodes of this even though I’m half a decade late. Not only for its format but the Bhatti legacy. Interesting stuff.