British comedy club, The Comedy Store, has tied up with Indian stand-up comedian Vir Das to host an Indian experimental comedy night this Wednesday. Das’ comedy content company, Weirdass Comedy, will be putting on out-of-the-box, radical comedy at the show called Weirdass Outbox. It will then become a semi-regular feature at the club, which recently opened at The Palladium.
Apart from Das, performers will include comics on the Weirdass roster, which number a 100 film and TV actors and local talent. Wednesday’s event has been titled, The Art of Laughter, since some gurus with sitars will be doing yoga, meditation and exorcisms.
Over time, the audience will get to see sketches, similar to Goodness Gracious Me, improvisation, musical comedy, celebrity roasts, spoof award ceremonies, and Das’ rock band Alien Chutney, which has funny lyrics accompanied by sophisticated music, Das explains. "We are offering people an alternative to straight stand-up," he adds. "I am looking to develop a cult audience and then take this around India."
Owner of the Comedy Store, Don Ward says he never had any specific intention of teaming up with an Indian comic. "I paddle my own boat, but he came to me with the idea and I thought I’d give it a whirl," he explains. "Vir is a talented guy. He has appeared on the Comedy Store stage in London in our 10-minute slots a couple of times, so I thought, why not? He is a bright, ambitious young man and he looks like someone who isn’t going to waste my time," he adds.
Apart from writing the script of the Filmfare Awards, and running the Weirdass Hamateur nights at the Blue Frog, which promotes upcoming talent, Das, also appears on the big screen. He has four releases lined up in 2011, the first being Aamir Khan’s Delhi Belly.
Twenty-five people attended the first open auditions at The Comedy Store. “They were mainly from Mumbai, a few came from Delhi and Chennai,” says founder Don Ward. Three showed potential, to whom he will give slots on The Comedy Store stage.
“But the main subject for 50 per cent of the rest was about watching a porn channel. One recited Shakespeare and film roles, as though auditioning for a Bollywood movie. One acted out a board meeting and one did a sketch about his driver picking up the wrong items from a shop,” Ward says, with horror. "They will get free tickets to The Comedy Store, so they can improve."