The Huddle

A personal yet engaging act that evoked empathetic smile

A stand-up act by Papa CJ was deeply personal yet relatable.

A stand-up act by Papa CJ was deeply personal yet relatable.   | Photo Credit: THE HINDU

There were phases in Papa CJ’s stand-up act, which concluded The Huddle on Sunday, that evoked an empathetic smile from the audience as opposed to shrieks of laughter.

In these bittersweet interludes that punctuated guffaws, the comedian recounted his heartbreak, read out a poem he wrote about his beloved, narrated his life’s biggest slump — when he was clinically depressed — and the rise after — when he became a stand-up comedian and rechristened himself, Papa CJ.

The name itself is a matter of intrigue. When the comedian let his audience ask him questions, the first one was “What is your actual name?”

“You can find the answer if you buy my book,” he replied with an impish grin. The book, Naked (by Westland), is an autobiographical account that traverses through the streets of Kolkata, stages of Edinburgh, and many bizarre episodes (like performing at gunpoint in South Africa).

Papa CJ’s act, for the most part, was deeply personal yet relatable and engaging. When he spoke about how an 80-year-old, bed-ridden lady sent him pictures of her smiling every day as ‘fees’ for his pro bono performance for her, the audience collectively exclaimed ‘aww’.

All this isn’t to suggest that he was just making many handkerchiefs wet throughout the evening. The laughs, of course, burst like firecrackers on a festival. And, there were jibes at the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Kunal Kamra’s flight ban and Donald Trump among other things. But what stood out in the stand-up act were the aforementioned moments that caused one to smile amidst bouts of laughter.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 10:30:27 PM |

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