A feminist, a struggler from Delhi and a scientist walk into a bar – and then they try everything short of pulling out their own eyeballs and juggling them to make an audience of four people laugh. Okay, let’s be fair, there were four more.
Last night, at this pub called He Said She Said, there was what they’d like to call a ‘comedy night’. Believe it or not, it was my first ever time in twenty-five years attending a stand up comedy session. Plus, I was in dire need of a good laugh so I was practically expecting saviors up on stage. They tried everything from typical Delhi behavior to Uday Chopra to buying undergarments. By the end, every one of them was freaked out by the impassive faces around, the fading attention and the people politely snickering at the jokes they cracked about how bad their jokes were. They were so freaked out that I turned out to be their savior instead.
Here, I really wish I could tell you that I jumped up on stage and took the audience by storm so that suddenly there were over 50 sets of jaws hurting on that side of the stage and a group of utterly grateful comedians on this side. That would be something to boast to my grandchildren about. No. I was the girl taking large gulps from my second bottle of Miller, chewing my way through badly done bacon and getting picked on for being the ‘lone alcoholic girl’ whenever they lost their nerve and needed desperately to see one amused smile in the audience. Alcoholic? Drunk? On Miller? Now that’s a good one!
There was another girl alone on the table behind me. They referred to her as the ‘quiet psycho’. But something about me made them want to pick on me more. Maybe it was because I was a sexy single woman oozing charm and they were all hooking their fishing rods for later when they’d come to my table and reel me in. Ah! Of course it was that. I just know it. I have you and your moves all figured out, you silly little lame comedians you!
So no. It was the fact that I was paying close attention waiting to be set off into a fountain of laughter; waiting with the amused condescension that St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai blesses you with. It was also probably the fact that they promised to give away this big bottle of Bacardi white rum to whoever cheered the loudest and my condescension gladly vanished.
Upon winning the ‘who cheers the loudest’ contest, as promised, I was awarded a mildly seasoned non-alcoholic Bloody Mary mix. “So the last people who won this told me it sucks without vodka!” said the scientist to me, right before he ruined it with “Just stating the obvious!” “Really, you promise a bottle of white rum and give me this? That’s like calling me for a comedy show and cracking really lame jokes on stage.” I shot back.
But mostly, these were genuinely kind people who kept me company after the show, who came from all walks of life and devoted time to their passion for making people laugh. At the risk of making complete fools of themselves, these people were ready to have more to themselves than their daily rut. They were ready to rid me and others like me of my boredom, frustration, tensions, sorrows etc for some time.
Although, they were funnier when they were off stage and simply talking to me, with the pressure off their backs. I mean I laughed every single time the comedian sitting next to me said he’s a scientist until I realized that wasn’t one of his jokes. He spends most of his time in glacier research (which is damn awesome, just like rocket science!) and then goes up on that stage to get martyred every once in a while. That’s one hell of an interesting guy.
That’s when I realized, it was blissfully easy sitting back and judging them. I wouldn’t dare go up on that stage and try to make people laugh. Funny is one of the most difficult things to be intentionally. I would any day attend one of these poetry readings or something of the sort where you’re up on stage and you know that even if you don’t stir the soul of the audience, you’ve done well.
So this post goes to those comedians and to all the people trying to make others laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine, but it’s not an easy one to concoct. So you guys are all scientists.
To the others, be interesting. As interesting as that guy who’s a scientist by day and a stand up comedian by night. Or as interesting as this guy I dated in college, who was a scholar by day and a cabaret dancer by night. Basically, have the balls to have much more to yourself than the basic formula that constitutes you. Fascinate yourself and you’ll hardly need much more.
On that note,
PS – Meanwhile here’s an interesting article I read in the same context http://time.com/68212/7-things-the-most-interesting-people-all-have-in-common/