There was this time at The Edinburgh festival, when I went for one of the Fringe shows in a little den underground. The audience consisted of a couple of staid, skirted , lipsticked brits, some cricket lovers and maybe seven Europeans. So comedy boy talks about this strange phenomenon of American accent epidemics. America is the only country you come back from with a guaranteed accent apparently. I myself have lost many friends to that drawl. The comedian began to wonder, in order to humour us, why people don't ever come back fromIndia with an accent…and he did a stereotypical Indian accent. It was actually pretty funny, truth is funny.No one laughed. 30 odd brits and 7 Europeans with frozen upper lips.Comedy boy, edges them on… "Everyone is wondering whether to laugh or whether that is racist."
Yikes. I was the only Indian in the room feeling major responsibility for killing laughter. It was awful and this man came and apologized to me after the show although I still didn't get what the fuss was about.
According to Vidur Kapur, New York based comedian who performed a couple of weeks back at the Park told me about how one just can't do accents inBritain. they are too "politically correct." I guess the problem with these types is that they are constantly taking notes in their head, stealing jokes, situations. And especially because you know how everyone loves to laugh at the Indian media (quite understandably), I was slightly intimidated to meet him. Vidur talked about this expressionless woman who interviewed him and he just wanted her to LEAVE! Yeah, but it was ok although it brought back this memory of some stand up show I'd been to in Bombay where the comedian tastelessly went on and on about some Aromita Paromita from Horny 24/7.
Another thing I wonder about is how people can use their personal lives with so much ease. Vidur loves making fun of his parents and his grandmother in particular."My grandmother mainly cares about how much money I make. I told her I want to be a prostitute.When I told her how much I would earn she thought it would be great.." Apparently, though, most times he lifts things straight out of real life." Oh yeah, my mother and grandmother would get really sensitive. I would tell them that I am not just picking on them. I am picking on everyone, including myself so they shouldn't take things so literally, you know?"
So, the ability to laugh at things means you are comfortable with it right? Because if you can't it means you think there is something wrong but you have been taught to be politically correct about it.
There was this time when Vidur asks us, the audience, if we have had phone sex. An aunty responds saying she has. "Aunty, you have had phone sex?" he asks in his special 'for aunties' tone. . Aunty tells him she thought she heard it as phone set!!
Hmm... so another wonder point is how much of this 'audience spontaneity' is rehearsed. This particular instance, I think was coincidence. But,a colleague said he knows people who were given a bottle of whisky at a Russel Peter's event just to be bakra..
Cross posted on firstcitydelhi.blogspot.com