People turned to comedy to beat the quarantine blues, with the world coming to a standstill during the pandemic. It is almost as if the comedy scene got another boost, shifting totally into the digital space. Comedians have started streaming live on YouTube or created new shows and formats, even performing before a live audience via Zoom.
While stand-up comedy is one of the more popular genres, other forms of comedy are also equally hilarious to watch, which will instantly lift your mood.
Here’s a list of 5 alt-comedy shows and sketches by Indian comedies for you to enjoy –
1. Crowd Works – Rahul Subramanian
Rahul Subramanian is a Mumbai-based comedian who shot to fame after winning the YouTube Comedy Hunt (a sketch video competition) in 2015 with his friend Kumar Varun. He was also a famous face in AIB’s sketches. His ‘building uncle’ sketches became an Instagram rage during the pandemic.
Crowd work is a form of comedy where the comedian doesn’t use a pre-scripted set-up but speaks directly to the audience. It usually follows a question-answer format with the comedian asking questions to a random person from the audience and then comes up with hilarious quips on the spot, based on the answers. Subramanian’s crowd work videos are an absolute laughter riot!
His crowd work videos are available on the YouTube channel Random Chikibum.
2. RelationSHIT Advice – Raunaq Rajani
Raunaq Rajani is a Mumbai-based comedian who shot to fame after participating in the second season of the Amazon Original comedy show Comicstaan. Previously, he was a writer for the comic group East India Comedy (EIC) and has appeared on various TV shows like Rising Star of Comedy on NDTV, Cyrus Broacha’s The Week That Wasn’t on CNN-IBN, and shows on Comedy Central and Channel V.
RelationSHIT Advice is a show hosted by Rajani where he invites three of his comedian friends who form the panel. They read out questions from the agony aunt column of the newspaper or questions that have been sent to them via a given email address, offering advice (mostly unhelpful) for their relationship troubles. The show is hilarious, full of banter, jokes, roasts, and unsolicited advice!
RelationSHIT Advice is available on his personal YouTube Channel – Raunaq Rajani.
3. The General Fun Game Show – Kaneez Surka
India’s first female improviser, Kaneez, is often deemed as the queen of improv comedy in India. She’s attended various Improv Festivals around the world and also held workshops all over the country. Along with fellow comedians Kenny Sebastian, Kanan Gill, and Abish Matthew, Kaneez formed an improv group called “The Improvisers,” which has been an integral part of the expanding improv scene in India. She’s been a part of various AIB sketches and was a judge on Comicstaan.
The General Fun Game Show was created and is hosted by Kaneez. It mainly features a group of ( usually 3) well-known faces from the comedy industry who participate in a quiz/game show-like competition to win a hamper that generally includes old things from Kaneez’s household! A couple of episodes also figure web-stars like Mallika Dua, Amol Parashar, Sumeet Vyas, and Manvi Gagroo, among others.
After a couple of general episodes, a finale features the winners of the previous episodes (if someone is unavailable for taping, another comic is called in for the finale to participate in their place because the game show is general and fun). The show, rounds, questions, and even the points are random as hell but oh-so-funny.
The General Fun Game Show is available on her personal YouTube Channel – Kaneez Surka.
4. Son of Abish – Abish Matthew
Abish is a comedian and YouTuber who began his career as a radio jockey in Delhi. He was a famous face in AIB sketches and also had a show called Journey Of A Joke on YouTube, where he calls a comedian, and they break down and analyze one of the popular jokes or set-ups of that comedian. Abish is also a part of the improv group called “The Improvisers,” along with fellow comedians Kenny Sebastian, Kanan Gill, and Kaneez Surka. He hosted the two seasons of Comicstaan along with Sumukhi Suresh and Urooj Ashfaq.
Son of Abish is a variety comedy talk show hosted by Abish that premiered in 2015 and currently has eight seasons. Abish invites two guests from the entertainment field whom he interviews, and afterward, they play hilarious games. The show also features skits, sketches, and sets performed by Abish’s crew and comics. The show recently has also introduced a segment called “Son of Abish Picks,” where indie musicians get a chance to perform one of their songs at the end of the show.
Some guests who have featured in this show include Swara Bhaskar, Vidya Balan, Irrfan Khan, Dulquer Salmaan, Zakir Khan, Mithila Palkar, Vishal Dadlani, Vicky Kaushal, Armaan Malik, Abhay Deol, Yami Gautam, Tanmay Bhat, Bhuvan Bam, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Radhika Apte, and Vir Das among others.
Son of Abish seasons 1-3 and 5-7 are available on the YouTube channel – Son of Abish. Season 4 is available on Disney+ Hotstar and Season 8 on Netflix India’s YouTube Channel.
5. Musical Comedy – Aadar Malik
A comedian, musician, and actor – Aadar wears many feathers on his cap. This Mumbai-based comedian was part of the collective comedy Schitzengiggles (SnG) before he, Varun Thakur, Neville Shah, and Kautuk Srivastava left the group. He’s been a part of Amazon Original’s comedy shows like Improv All-Stars – Games Night, LOL – Hasse Toh Phase, and Netflix’s Comedy Premium League.
Aadar often mixes music and comedy, performing on stage with a piano and guitar. His comedy special on Amazon is also a medley of jokes and music called Stand-up: The Musical. His composition “Goat Song” was shortlisted at the Worldwide Comedy Short Film Festival, London. His musical comedies include a series called Soulful Cover, where he takes popular party songs and does a soulful version of them, bringing out the often illogical lyrics they have. His other popular musical comedies that will make you laugh aloud include Bh*nch*d Sutta Cancer Ho Gaya, Oh My Goat (Goat Song), She Called Me Bhaiya!, Love Me Tinder, and Shaadi mat Karna with a Muslim.
These musical comedy videos are available on his YouTube channel, The Aadar Guy.
You can also check out the musical comedies by EIC and AIB.
Edited by Prakriti Arora