Well, Russell Brand’s show last night was interesting. Here’s how the show went. Sanjay Manaktala came onstage and got the crowd going. You could see him getting the engines on and show started pretty well. Ajay Samson, fellow comic, great guy and a caricature in himself took his 5 minutes on stage well.
Then came on Vir Das. I had never watched him live. I’ve always wanted to, but I never had the chance. He was energetic, he had stage presence, his diction, his command over the language and his style of speech was very engaging. I loved his performance. Observing him perform gave me great Solace that I’m watching one of the finest, if not the finest comedians today in India.
We took a break! Here’s where things go wrong. India as a country is not like other cultures where we go take a break and rush back inside to continue the concert. Even in a movie, if there’s curiosity we rush back. If we take an interval where that’s just the end of the first half we go, “FOOD!” Once there is food and especially food that we genrally don’t eat everyday we’re pretty excited. It’s like a wedding. We’re happy for your son or daughter but please where’s the ‘Paneer/chicken kebab/Biryani/Insert-fav-food-item-here’. Once we’ve been given food we know that, we came we saw, we’re already having a good time. The element of excitiment goes down. Now’re quielty waiting ke when will we go back and play Fifa or watch ‘Game of Thrones’.
I’m not saying we don’t look forward to the main act. I’m saying we’re not 100 percent there!
Russell Brand wasn’t welcomed on stage with the warmth that he deserved. I mean he hadn’t even said a word yet and already instead of a rockstar that he was he got the reception of, “Hey! Look, a Firangi!”
He was himself which I liked. You could see the effort he made for reaching out to the culture. I’ll keep it short. His brand of humour isn’t very frequent when it comes to punchlines. Once you’re with him you laugh at him and chuckle at different parts of the story. The audience was waiting like where are the dozen punchlines in a minute, Russell. I loved the first half of his performance and I thought he really got a lukewarm audience, for him to change gears. There was little technical hassle, like the co-ordination between him and the AV guy, that got the show a little weary and you could see it bothered him that he did an effort to gather the crowd in a pocket and someone cut a hole in that pocket.
There was a point where you could see him saying, this is not going to go the way you thought Russell, he spoke for a while and then he wrapped the show by inviting a few people to ask questions.
What I take back from this?
India is not yet ready for Brit humour. You know what I mean when I say Brit humour. Clever, intelligent, witty and not punchline after punchline. Not discrminating but Brit humour is harder to chew through and not everyone wants to do it.
For an Indian audience, you do stereotypes, current affairs, cliches they will be with you but once you lose them they’re like a G-spot.
I just wish Indians would watch Two Ronnies, and more fans of Monthy Python would show up the next time Eddie Izzard comes to town.