Raghav Mandava on His Most Recommended Comics in Delhi

    I’ll get right to it! This is a list of Comedians I really want you to see; this is awkward because the people I’m talking about are peers and colleagues, and one of the weird things about being an “artist” {ugh} is that one does not know where the line between friendship and work meets; it’s bloody blurry. I don’t consider myself an authority on comedy, because taste is so bloody relative, but after all I’ve been organising shows for a while now, and this article is a representation of the views of the producer in me.

    Shaad Shafi

    This guy is super new to the scene as far as stage time is concerned, and there are already a few comedians who do one line comedy, but there are very few out there who have something Mitch Hedbergesque about them. I know that is a very tall comparison, but go see for yourself. I don’t feel that the nervousness Shaad shows on stage is an act, because the relief when he gets off is all too real for it to be a lie. Some of my favourite jokes in the world are the ones that don’t make sense, and yet they make sense… does that make sense? The kind that make me put my hands up and say “what the f***” and then make me start laughing. Can this guy graduate soon so that we can see more of him please?

    Vikramjit Singh

    I feel very strongly about mentioning him in the line up here, because there are comics out there who are certainly funnier than him and they even have more rounded off material, but I don’t think people realise the weight “Mr Singh” is lifting every time he takes the stage. The first year or two in his comedy, he has made an active effort to not be identified as a Sardar on stage, and believe you me, it must have been tough on him. He could have easily “paaji’d up” the gig, got his laughs, catered to a large and supportive all Punjabi market of comedy, got paid well and called himself a comedian. I always hope that comics who don’t cash in at the start cash out well later.

    Sumit Anand

    I have no qualms in using the words “Entitled” or “Arrogant” when I describe Sumit Anand. I also don’t have qualms using the words “Hilarious” or “Insightful”. His relationship material is rather one of the fresher sets I have seen, considering it was one of his first bits as well; he would coax me for extra stage time at shows and I would say “that is not how it works”. Little did I know he was going to do a solo show at the Stein Auditorium within the first 2 years of his career, which I’ve heard nice things about. #Respect #FuckHimALittleBitForBeingThisGoodSoEarlyOn

    Nishant Suri

    The thing I like most about Suri is that his material sounds like a professional comedian wrote it. I remember I was hosting an open mic and out of the 20 odd comedians who came and did their 2 minutes of stuff, Nishant’s was the only time where I could sense the audience really wanted him to carry on. The difference in the quality of his writing and delivery compared to the people who have spent the same amount of time in the field is genuinely palpable. Also, he is weird with his hands on stage and it just makes it so much funnier

    Abhishek Upmanyu

    I don’t throw the word around “genius” easily and I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t think he was one. Where did this guy come from? What is his story? No one really knows, because his material has very little about it, and he still manages to spew all kinds of funny shit out of the front of his face. However, if you can’t catch words of people who speak quickly, you might want to buy him a Valium before he starts the show. His manic energy makes him one of the most unique talents in the Indian comedy scene, and everyone is taking notice.

    Zakir Khan

    Zakir makes it to this list because his career is a story of revitalization. He was awarded “Indias best Stand Up comedian” early on in his career, which raised the bar way too high for him; after a bit of a lull Zakir has transformed. I look at comedy like a sport and I look at the comedian like a team. People who come to see you specifically are home games, corporate/private gigs are away games, and shows where you’re part of a multi comic line up are neutral… His biggest challenge is one of linguistics, because when a guy who speaks only hindi and decides to use the word “laundi” instead of “chick” eyebrows are raised and people squirm. However, it was always going to be weird for this Muslim bloke from Indore making his way in this culturally confused society where some people find the word “nigger” more offensive than “chinky”. Videos do ZERO justice to what I see live, and with that being said, if you see Zakir Khan perform to his home crowd, you will be genuinely hard pressed to find a comedian who can kill an audience as hard as him… For me, he is desi comedy done right…

    You can catch them all at a Cheese Monkey Mafia show which happen irregularly at Pot Belly Cafe, but there might be one soon! Otherwise you guys can catch these guys anywhere there is a gig, just look them up, stuff is constantly happening in Delhi, there are at least 20 comedy shows a month here, and that is being conservative… remember Google? Yes use that!