I’ve actively cultivated my love for comedy. I visit the comedy store every time I visit London or LA. I visit second city and UCB and second city every time I go to Chicago. These places have given a lot to comedy. And, comedy has given a lot of me.
As a child, I distinctly remember listening to an audio tape of Johnny Lever, a young standup comic/impersonator at that time, making the audience laugh hysterically in Mumbai. This audio was recorded in 1989! Johnny Lever went on to become a famous comedy actor in India.
I was in New York City again in October 2016. I went to the Comedy Cellar and to the UCB in Chelsea to the see the ASSSSCAT 3000 show on Sunday. It was fun. It was also clear that the Chicago shows are better even though folks were lining up two hours in advance of the free ASSSSCAT 3000 show at 9:30PM on Sundays.
I’m heartened by the recent interest in stand up comedy in Gurgaon, especially. You can actually attend a standup comedy show every weekend in Gurgaon now. Interestingly there isn’t any improv in Delhi. Improv is a great tool for telling stories and learning to be really present in a situation. I hope we get some good improv here soon.
Strange that foreign men are liked by women all over the world. And, it’s mostly because of their accent. American women love the British accent. British women love the Irish accent, etc, etc. But I’m yet to find women who love the Indian accent. Even Indian women don’t like the Indian accent! Imagine that.
The proof points are clear. Every ad on TV, every DJ, RJ in India today is speaking in a faux American or faux British accent. In fact english olympic commentators on Star Sports in India also seem to be getting selected for having an British or American accent. Weird how the audience laps it up. I don’t get it at all.
The same folk that comment or DJ or RJ in a foreign accent, quickly drop the accent when they have to negotiate prices, deals or deal with the real India. The use of an accent is a strategic choice. Wielded carefully in parties, interviews, dates and social interactions to make the right impression. This is really easy to see in parties in upworldly mobile places like Bangalore, Hyderebad, Gurgaon and Noida today. Almost everyone has spent time abroad and has developed a point of view on life and travel and India. This includes me by the way.
Like the others, I’m very strategic about my accent. I grew up hating any kind of accent in us folk. After working at an American company for the last thirteen years in India, I find myself slipping into an a faux American accent when I don’t want to. I think mine’s a Californian accent mixed in with a strong northern Indian accent. I know it sounds strange. Here’s me on stage trying to speak naturally: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCD_mw4crkk
Not sure how irritated I should get with this but accents popular media in India continue to irritate me!