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The kings of nonsensical banter

Different Takes:Anuvab Pal says their show draws 6,000 to 7,000 listeners. But KunaalRoy Kapur (right) is quite certain that just two or three tune in, out of which one is NPR.  

In a country like ours, where being a comedian can sometimes land you in jail, two bravehearts exist who find humour in the everyday. Anuvab Pal and Kunaal Roy Kapur get together once every fortnight for Our Last Week, a podcast hosted by Audiomatic, India’s first podcast network launched in April 2015.

Audiomatic, which hosts weekly and fortnightly episodes on topics ranging from food, science and culture to current affairs, entertainment and humour, will be part of the fifth edition of the three-day Cheer! Comedy Festival, where the duo’s podcast will be performed live.

The festival will also feature performances by noted writers, directors, actors, and comedians who are not afraid to take a jab at current events or the struggles of life in general.

Pal says, “When we were first approached by Audiomatic to do a podcast for them, being very optimistic, we naturally thought it would last two weeks. But here we are, still podcasting with the likes of Vikram Doctor, who talks about food with actual knowledge and well-researched content. We on the other hand, speak with zero insight.”

Every fortnight, through a 20-minute episode, the duo records their everyday conundrums in podcasts with crazy titles like Getting legally noticed, Stashing your cash (in London), The Hell of Living, Uncles at Indian Weddings, The Escapades of an Indian James Bond, and Vladimir Putin: The real life Salman Khan.

Kapur says, “Presenting the show live might be a challenge because usually through the magic of editing we sound competent, but here we’re engaging in nonsensical banter about what troubles us. It’s also important for us to ensure that it’s not rehearsed and stay true to the spontaneity of it all.” The duo will also be open to topics suggested by the audience as they indulge in mindless conversation.

Our Last Week has also been noticed by National Public Radio (NPR). The non-profit media organisation that is a syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations in the U.S. has approached the pair for a gig. Pal says, “We were told by our producers that we currently have 6,000-7,000 listeners each episode. Though Kunaal was quite certain that we had just 2-3, out of which, one was NPR.”

Pal strongly believes that the first rule of improv comedy is to have faith in the “yes, and?” theory. He says the theory stems from the premise that nothing is impossible. He says we live in a ‘no’ India where a bizarre story is instantly shot down or deemed nonsense, which kills its comical element. “Kunaal and I meet half an hour before the podcast and sit to discuss the week gone by. Even if the topics might be mundane, we don’t shut the doors of imagination. So for example, if I get around to saying, ‘Hey Kunaal, my day yesterday was good, I scaled a tree in Bandra and believe I have the genes of a monkey, Kunal will respond by saying ‘yes, and?’ and we build it from there.”

One of the duo’s personal favourite podcasts is their first one where they talk about how Elon Musk outsources his work from a shady garage in Dharavi. That episode also delves into how Indians are the pioneers of breaking down costs, reusing everything, and what would transpire if they were to build a spaceship to Mars. Apart from other ludicrous ideas, it suggests not paying the astronauts by making excuses such as “ Usko kaun bataega , woh toh Saturn pe hain , [who is going to tell him, he’s landed on Saturn]”.

For Pal, the pressure of being funny is a battle he believes every comedian deals with. “I feel like I’m funnier in conversation rather than when I think ‘Oh, this joke is worth Rs. 6,000.’”

Pal also believes each comedian has a line that they draw for themselves. He ensures his jokes are about everybody being helpless rather than attacking a particular individual.

Roy, on the other hand, believes each person has a different comic aesthetic and stands strongly with anybody who voices an opinion, but doesn’t necessarily have to agree. While he believes the only thing audience members at the show are going to laugh at are the long dead silences, we’re being slightly more optimistic.

The NCPA Cheer! begins today; Our Last Week will be performed on June 4 at 6 pm. Tickets: between Rs. 200 and Rs. 400. See ncpamumbai.com

The author is a freelance writer



Presenting the show live might be a challenge because usually through the magic of editing we sound competent, but here we’re engaging in nonsensical banter about what troubles us

Kunaal Roy Kapur,actor





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Printable version | May 2, 2021 5:28:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/entertainment/The-kings-of-nonsensical-banter/article14381412.ece

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