The Comedy Store is doing its bit to help the ‘slow but very steadily’ growing pace of stand-up comedy in the country. First they expanded their business to India, and now with Local Heroes, for the first time, they will showcase an all-Indian line-up of stand-up comics — Tanmay Bhat, Rohan Joshi, Ashish Shakya and Shika Kapadia.
“We had given them various slots on our weekend shows. Slowly, the length of their acts was increased. When they began doing 20 minute shows, we knew they could take on their own gig,” says Charlotte Ward, manager and agent, Comedy Store. Even though Bhat and Joshi have displayed their comic flair with Vir Das’ Weirdass Hamateur Nights in the past, Local Heroes means a lot. Bhat feels, “It’s a good opportunity to show that we can be funny too. It’s almost as if people walking out of international shows mean to say “Hey! I’m surprised I found you funny, despite not being cued by Shekhar Suman and Navjot Singh Sidhu laughter track!”
After months of organising gigs with foreign comedians, the Store will now give local talent two-hour long gigs on Wednesdays, every month. A fresh round of auditions will be organised in January. Ask whether the move was deliberate following reports of the Store lacking a local connect, and Ward says, “We got local comedians not because the audience could understand them better, but so that they could grow in India. Of course, Indians will have certain local elements like politics and religion, but the idea for them is to grow. These artistes have a bright future with the Store.”
As for the comics, they’re happy, as India is a loaded canvas with very little you can’t poke fun at. Says Joshi, “With our three thousand languages, eight billion dialects, three kajillion gotras and ninety-nine gajillion political parties — it’s like being at a buffet. It’s safe to assume that at any given point in time, there’s always someone doing something funny or stupid. Usually Shashi Tharoor.”
The show will be a mix of Hindi and English and will span every imaginable topic in the book. Says Shakya, “This is the nation of Kalmadi, India TV, Dolly Bindra, Salman Khan, Ekta Kapoor, Bappi Lahiri and Arnab Goswami. Hard to top that right?”
Catch Local Heroes at The Comedy Store on December 22 at 8.30 pm. Call 4348 5000 for further details.