The interactive bits were the funniest in Cyrus Broacha and Kunal Vijaykar’s ‘The Evening That Wasn’t’

If you walked out a little disappointed from Lady Andal School on Friday evening, it’s only because we expect a lot more out of India’s funniest comedians. Yet, ‘The Evening That Wasn’t’ fundraiser organised by Landmark Construction in association with Madras Metro Ladies Circle 70 was certainly among the better stand-up comedy routines we’ve seen in the city.

If people did go home having laughed quite a bit, it was only because there were enough jokes that worked. If the idea of opening with a rather tame ‘The News That Wasn’t’ segment was to set the bar really low, the trick did work.

Sample: The government has a problem with homosexuality but not smoking. “Certainly, some fags are ok and some aren’t.” Yes, let’s target the gay community and call them what they don’t want to be called. It’s comedy after all.

Thankfully, a video clip came on soon enough that showed Cyrus Broacha getting almost abducted from the toilet seat to host the show and he graciously admitted that this was the level of humour we can expect from the show. “It’s a terrible show really.”

By now, we know he can be extremely funny when he gets talking with no script to cramp his style. As he was explaining the rules for the show (“You can take calls and text, feel free to urinate anywhere, men in the hall feel free to scratch”), Broacha had the audience in splits. Especially, with the improvised quips at random people — late comers or the photographer bumping into him (“Sir, please no drinks here”).

The best trick

The best trick Broacha pulled out of his hat was subversion. With his brand of self-deprecatory humour, setting the tone that the show was going to be really bad and letting the audience in on joke (“We are just going to come out there and make you tell all the jokes because we have no jokes really”), he managed to make the crowd worry about the immediate possibility of him thrusting a mike in front of them instead of letting them judge the quality of jokes.

He was right, the interactive bits did turn out to be the funniest bits of the evening because nobody is as good as embarrassing his victims as Cyrus Broacha. One moment, he was “testing Hindi reading skills” of people in the audience (he made them read out embarrassing confessions). Another, he was quizzing people about their marriage and poking fun at their sex lives (never mind there were kids in the hall). When he wasn’t making up gay jokes about men who showed up without their wives, he couldn’t resist being juvenile even when he was interviewing kids (What business does your father do? Pipes?).

The idea was to poke fun at everybody including themselves and the duo did that; Parsis, politicians and homosexuals bearing the brunt of most jokes. The mock interview clips with Pranab Mukherjee, Salman Khan and Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati provided relief between routines as Broacha went up to the balcony to talk to the “poor people who didn’t have money to buy the higher-priced tickets”.

Kunal Vijaykar in different disguises (Gujarati, Parsi, Baba Ramdev and ‘Mr. Mayawati’) did manage to crack up the audience, especially with his Parsi avatar mocking the host for his jokes and coming up with a few of his own. (“I heard your underwear has holes.” “No.” “Then, where do you put your feet?”).

As a bonus, the duo did a post-event question-and-answer session with the audience, graciously giving them a chance to take a few digs at them. The crowd tried hard (“Why are your hands always in your left trouser pocket?), but these guys were just too quick. “We have only one left. Just making sure it’s still there.”

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Sudhish KamathMay 11, 2012