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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Laughter Club : stand-up comedy in Mumbai

Arundhati Chatterjee, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 02, 2014
First Published: 13:12 IST(2/1/2014) | Last Updated: 16:28 IST(2/1/2014)

Stand-up comedy may still be evolving in India, but the growing interest in the genre over the past few years has caused a surge in the number of comedians and comic groups who perform regularly.

To celebrate comedy, and give these performers a platform, the city is now set to host the maiden edition of The Weirdass Pajama Festival (TWPF).

The event will bring together around 70 stand-up artistes, who will perform at over 95 shows, cracking jokes on a range of topics.

Spread over three days, the festival will also host Jammy Time, the first-ever stand-up show for kids, featuring Comedy Club 4 Kids, a UK-based comedy group.

Ask TWPF’s founder and popular comedian-actor Vir Das about the idea, and he says, “We have more than 69 comedians from all over the world, dance performances, sketches, stand-up, improv troupes, theatre, workshops, parades and drinking games. The concept is simple — I’m looking forward to seeing snazzy bars and prestigious theatres filled with people in their slippers and pajamas, (the non-compulsory dress code) laughing their behinds off.”

In order to reach audiences across the city, TWPF is hosting shows at the National Centre For Performing Arts (NCPA; Nariman Point), as well as bars and restaurants like The White Owl and The Barking Deer (both Lower Parel), Bandra’s Mangiamo and Le Sutra, Bottle Bar in Fort, Irish House in Colaba and Juhu’s Copa.

Workshops that are part of the festival include improve acting and comedy in film. The event marks the first time that major comedy
collectives — Weirdass Comedy, Improv Comedy Mumbai, All India Bak***d (AIB), The Polished Bottoms and Schitzengiggles to name a few —  are coming together.

International comics like Malaysia-based Harith Iskander and Douglas Lim as well as Australian David Quirk are slated to participate. “There are shows on everything under the sun — men and women, sports, news, the Delhi-Mumbai ‘war’. The AIB Sex Show and the famous play, Vagina Monologues, will also be staged. The five special Pajama shows, which will be performed at NCPA, are must-watches. We’ve put a lot of work into curating them. These shows areeverything that I’d want to see in a comedy line-up,” adds Das.

Vir’s picks from the festival

1. Good sports: Comedians and panelists like Harsha Bhogle will cover the funniest-ever moments of Indian sports — Everything   from PT Usha to Poonam Pandey.

2.  Del-Bomed: Comedians from Delhi take on Mumbai.

3. The Weirdass Tandoor: A celebrity roast.

4. Nation In Mourning: A show about your Sunday newspaper, as you read it in the audience.

5. Jammy Time: A special troupe has come down from the UK to do an entire show just for kids.


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