Stand-up comedy has benefited from the pandemic as several of us had more time on our hands to laugh at a good joke. In fact, courtesy the internet & smartphones and now OTT, Indian comedians have enjoyed a bull run over the past decade. However, most of these entertainers tend to be “people like us” from posh schools and good colleges – more Greater Kailash than Karol Bagh, more Bandra than Borivali. In that context, Kapil Sharma has been a mould-breaker, a successful mainstream comedian with no pretentions to being part of the establishment elite. His success is yet another pointer to the cultural remaking of India. Nidhima Taneja’s piece in The Print begins by acknowledge Kapil’s star power: “Kapil Sharma is a household name now. The fact that everyone from Shah Rukh Khan to Deepika Padukone ensures a pitstop at The Kapil Sharma Show while promoting any new song/film/OTT series, gives a fair idea of the influence he holds in the entertainment industry. The show has had 351 episodes so far.”
Ms Taneja then takes us back to Kapil’s beginnings in Amritsar: “Unlike the often-opted route of trying out at open mics in the suburbs of Mumbai, Sharma’s dive into the comedy circuit was not as obvious. He started off with histrionics, a theatrical art form, during his college days, as he recalled in The Bassi Show, after his unsuccessful attempts of getting into the Indian Army and Border Security Force (BSF).
“I do not know the exact definition of stand-up comedy. All I knew was you had to take the mic and make people laugh,” he said. When Anubhav Singh Bassi, a fellow comedian and host, asked him if he follows the template of ‘setup, punchline, premise’ (as taught to up-and-coming comics in the show Comicstaan), the 40-year-old comedian said he doesn’t believe in going by the book.”
Ms Taneja ends the piece with a piece of killer insight from India’s most famous comedian: “Kapil Sharma had once said, “Once people start liking you, they listen to everything you say.” It is a charming monologue of a star comedian owning his truth while his audience applauds him for what he does best: telling a story.”
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