February 14, 2022: If you have been to stand-up comedy shows in Mumbai’s sudden burgeoning talent pool of this alternate entertainment gigs, you follow some basic rules. One: be discreet about your presence and two: avoid the front row rabidly. You could become an easy target for a joke. It’s the oldest trick in the book and one that was used sparingly at the recently held comedy show featuring fresh, young talent called The Rugrats at The Hive in Bandra.
Hosted by Aakash Mehta, the performers included Akshay Shinde, Dhruv Deshpand, Deep Chhabria and Siddharth Dudeja. The show was possibly the funniest thing you could do on a day dedicated to flowers, perfumes, and uber-pink cuteness. Two shows back to back, both of which saw a decent audience number, the show went from moments of rollicking laughter, to very anxious awkward silences, but on a whole it was a night of good fun and laughs.
Starting off with a spirited introduction for himself, Mehta went on to split his set over time, rather than do it over one single shot. The theme for the evening being growing up and such, Mehta did good justice to the audience, his set sprinkled generously with anecdotes, the occasional interaction with the audiences, and some very witty jokes on underarm sweat patches. If anything, Mehta needed to stay in the groove of set, and turn random strands of information interfering with his concentration to his benefit.
Shinde was the first guy on the stage. What was interesting about Shinde’s set was the ease with which he went from topic to topic. This guy’s set possibly stuck to the theme of the night best, ripe with references from his childhood (which was two years back), and also transcended into issues he faced to this day. His set became even more interesting since connecting to his material was fairly simple. From The Powerpuff Girls to guys smoking power puffs of weed at Carter Rd, Shinde walked away, personally, as the best stand up for the night.
Dhruv Deshpande followed suit, with a number of anecdotes and jokes that he drew from personal experience. What was interesting about Deshpande’s set was his play on being animated and expressionless from time to time. His material was witty from time to time, but something that really got in the way of enjoying his set was the steady bombardment of material: making people laugh = good, telling people jokes and not letting them soak in the moment = not all that good.
Chhabria’s routine was decidedly the most excitable one for the evening; he did not stay in a single spot for more than three seconds, and while he was at it, just kept shooting a barrage of jokes one after the other. His set seemed to be a constant flurry of hits and misses, with some jokes causing exactly the reaction he’d want, some others falling rather flat. What was interesting to see was his responsiveness to elements during his set, like a random phone ringing, and an instant joke at that.
Dudeja was the last performer for the night. While Dudeja’s set was an assortment of topics ranging everything under the sun, what was also very different about his set was his storytelling ability- melding anecdotes and personal views and ponderings all into one big ball of funnies is not something everyone can do all the time, but he did it with ease. Add to that the underlying sense of wit and sarcasm, and his set was a fitting end to the night.
While the entire event was a fun night with plenty of jokes and laughter, it would be brilliant to see more jokes on the said subject for the event, especially since the topic was as awesome as everyone’s younger days.