A dose of laughter cures it all

Feb 2nd, 2012

Nagen Singh, Deccan Herald

A FUNNY BONE

It was all madness at Epicentre, Gurgaon when a motley crowd split into laughter as stand up comedian Amit Tandon cracked a one-liner: “When a bag or a marriage gets old, the first things to get affected are the… zips.”

Cheese Monkey Mafia (CMM), the Delhi-based company that was started as an initiative by  Raghav Mandava organises comedy events across the City and recently completed two years of making audience laugh. Raghav, who dropped journalism to become a bartender and comedian, launched the company with the help of Papa CJ, also a comedian who was in the top 10 in 2008 on Last Comic Standing (an American comic talent show). Raghav kick-started CMM nights with his Shaken N Stirred show at Delhi’s Mocha Bar last year. “Open mics are an experimental space for novices to practice and veterans to fool around,” CJ observed.

Ask Raghav about the rise in popularity for stand up comedy in India? And he said, “Stand up comedy is a relatively new concept in our country. Unlike television shows which are mostly about jokes, a stand up comedian is under pressure to make you laugh every 30 seconds, which is approximately 120 to 150 times in an hour. But, the returns are greater than any comedy-based reality show.”

Having tasted the sweet success of a packed auditorium and more waiting to get in, both Raghav and his group members feel that the perception of stand up comedy has definitely changed in the last two years.

Sayak Basu a young comedian was the host for the show and teamed up with Amit Tandon, Mahip Singh and Kseav Naidu to take comedy at a different level. The mafias set the stage on fire making the show special by interacting with the audience.

“I loved the humour and unmatched timing of Anup and Kseav. I think in stand up comedy voice modulation is one of the most important elements. Except for some minor slips in understanding the content sometimes, I enjoyed the show,” says Kritika  Sahi, a visitor.

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