When The Great Indian Laughter Challenge broke out on Indian televisions, it was path-breaking for comedy and comedians in India.
Some of them, like Raju Srivastav and Sunil Pal, who had been struggling for decades, suddenly became household names. Kapil Sharma was also a find from The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, and continued on his way to fame, till he hosted and starred in the most popular show on Indian television today – Comedy Nights with Kapil.
However, a lot has changed in the last few years. Standup comedy has come of age in Indian metros, and people are actually paying to watch a night of standup comedy, instead of the latest blockbuster by Salman or Shah Rukh Khan.
However, sadly, standup comedy in India is still relegated to AIB, and Comedy Nights with Kapil. In reality, there are a number of standup comedians who are making their mark in comedy circles with their unique style and content.
Here are a few stand up comedians that you should be following on YouTube:
1. Biswa Kalyan Rath: One half of the extremely popular ‘Pretentious Movie Reviews’, (no, he’s not Kannan Gill, and thank god for that!), Biswa is a prominent comic in Bangalore, where he regularly performs his material.
Biswa talks about societal issues, and even abstract stuff like why nail cutters are completely useless. He has a unique style of delivery, and when you finish watching a set by him, you go, ‘Ah! That’s so true. Why didn’t I think of that earlier?’
2. Kenny Sebastian: While his name sounds like a Bollywood villain of the 80s who’s trying to spread poison through the veins of the country, Kenny is as Indian as they come. His sets follow an observational style, and he talks of the mundane madness of surviving in a country like India, with all its eccentricities and idiosyncrasies.
3. Abish Mathew: While he featured on the AIB Roast as well, Abish Mathew runs his own show on YouTube, titled ‘Son of Abish’. If you think it’s a lame pun, you should check out his other jokes, they’re the equivalent of Stephen Hawkings Rajesh Khanna in Avtar.
Abish invites guests from the standup comedy fraternity to his show, and his shows are both funny and insightful.
4. Anuvab Pal: Named ‘India’s Most Intelligent Comedian’ by New York Times, Anuvab Pal is a powerhouse of talent. He is a novelist, playwright, and screenwriter based in Mumbai.
Anuvab’s sets revolve around India and Indians, Indo-Pak relationships, and education in India. His sets are witty, well-written, and thought-provoking.
5. Zakir Khan: While most standup comedy in India is in English, Zakir Khan brings in a street-smart, tharki-next-door aspect to standup comedy that is a refreshing change.
A writer, poet, and sitarist, Zakir Khan shot to fame with his realistic sets about two years ago. A hot favourite in the Mumbai and Delhi comedy circuits, Zakir Khan regularly adds his videos on YouTube, leading to a huge fan following!
6. Kaneez Surka : This is where the list really ups. Kaneez has been on circuit for quite some time now, with wonderful collabs ( AIB, The Improvs etc etc ) but pretty recently she came out with her own channel on youtube which is as hilarious as anything can be. Though she isn’t that frantic about posting videos on it ( Kaneez? Why you do this ), it’s the classic case of Quality over Quantity. And she trumps on that front.
Know of another standup comedian who you think is hilarious? Let us know in the comments section below!