‘Fresh Thoughts’ by Kunal Kamra: A Review

In recent years, stand up comedy in India has witnessed a boom like nothing else. Talented artists that had already established themselves in the open mic circuit have now become household names. Kunal Kamra is one such example. In 2017, he uploaded a clip on YouTube that today has about 5.7 million views.

Not only did the internet give him fame, but it also gave him death threats; lots of them. If you are at all familiar with his content, you would know exactly why. And the reason you know why is probably the saddest thing about this country.

Nothing that comes with a classic BJP joke was untouched and yet, Kamra had the audience on his fingertips. His genius really shines in his transitions from punchline to punchline. With brilliant storytelling skills, his content just flows. You never realize when the joke goes from a bar of soap to Mukesh Ambani.

Amidst his anecdotes, the central narrative revolves around his struggles with newfound fame. Owning his unpopular opinions rarely gives him an advantage in real life, but it makes for brilliant standup content. The fearlessness and conviction with which he delivers his material are astounding to watch.

It’s interesting to note that Kamra depends more on his writing rather than his delivery. With rare inclusions of his parody voice, he hardly uses the stage, and surprisingly, it works in his favour. His antics work in complete synergy with his style of humour, in what results to be a hysterical performance.

However, the way he keeps throwing his punchlines at you might seem a little overwhelming at times. If they were spaced out in a better way, the show would have almost been perfect.

Not a single face in the audience, liberal or not, left the show without sore cheeks. For someone unfamiliar with the ‘Indian Culture’, Kamra’s YouTube comments would’ve suggested his audience to be highly divided. While that’s far from the truth, it’s not hard to understand the reason behind it. There’s always been this division between the urban and the rural, stemming from inequality. Ironically enough, the ones who are burdened with this inequality, are the ones to condemn Kamra’s socialistic views. All this, while the privileged attend his shows.

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