Sundays are the laziest of days; when the sun rises at noon and the Food Court bilge sits alone, ignored. Some while the day away at one of South Karnataka’s pristine array of beaches, some excitedly devour the cuisine at their favourite haunts, while others try to get rid of their Saturday night hangovers. This Sunday, however, the tidal waves were sorely neglected, for the majority of the Manipal populace stood assembled in front of the doors of the Golden Jubilee Hall, for the Manipal edition of stand-up comedian Abhishek Upmanyu’s show, entitled ‘Jealous of Sabziwala’.
The show was opened by a student of our very own university-town, Vishal Sivakumar, a member of Comedy Club Manipal which helped organising the event. He performed a brief set that lightly poked at political and social situations, from governments to harems. It was a fun and brief act that warmed up the audience for the evening of riotous laughter that was to follow. And soon enough, it led to the main act of the evening, Abhishek Upmanyu himself.
This being the humourist’s second visit to Manipal following 2017’s ‘Thoda Saaf Bol’, the second show of the evening saw him acclimatize to the audience very smoothly. The initial chortles amplified into cackles quite quickly, the entire gallery hooked on right from the start.
The set was predominantly delivered in Hindi, undoubtedly influenced by the comedian’s North Indian upbringing. Starting off with a brief nod to a recently cancelled Mangalore show, he launched into a hilarious tirade about the beloved practice of swearing. There was a lot of personal experience driving the course of the hour-long act, with plenty of anecdotes interspersed with hilarious witticisms. His narration of the three jobs as a chemical engineer that he lost before his foray into the world of laughter was put together extremely well. The audience’s guffaws steadily increased as the evening progressed.
After a rollercoaster of content that covered topic ranging from mental health to a surprising use of snakebites, the main attraction was the long finale. The tale of his college roommate, nicknamed ‘Govinda’ for identity purposes was expertly woven together not just by the subject’s rather unsavoury tendencies, but also by the mastery in its narration. Garnished by plenty of witty side-tracks and a colourful assortment of supporting characters ranging from crushes to college friends, the audience clutched their stomachs in tears, their raucous laughter knowing no end.
While there was no particular vegetable seller to be jealous of, this was something that was acknowledged quite early on, in a dig at critical reviewers. Of course, there was no need for vegetables as the dispersing attendees were supplied with packets of chips which, for quite a few broke souls, was the main highlight.
Though it started a little late following a delay that had trickled down from the first segment, the set was neatly wrapped up by 8 P.M, leaving a jam-packed hall of impressed students behind. Comedy can take various forms, from cheap slapstick jokes to satire for the intelligentsia. Yet it is quite rare to see a comedian carve a niche for himself. Abhishek Upmanyu manages to strike that thin line, proving himself to be not just another humorous improviser, but a captivating storyteller.
~ Written by Ankitha Giridhar for MTTN
~ Images by Almas Khan for MTTN