Comedy in Diversity

Host of The Freaky Traveller,stand-up comedian Brij Bhakta talks about how his fun-filled travels across India have helped him look beyond stereotypes in his comedy

Written by Anjali Jhangiani KP | Published: July 24, 2013 3:07:03 am

He drinks,loves meat on his plate and is a Gujarati. “There is no need for fellow Gujaratis to raise eyebrows at my dietary preferences. In fact,the best mutton curry I’ve had was at a restaurant in Gujarat,” says stand-up comedian Brij Bhakta,who disagrees with the stereotyping of communities. Bhakta declares that his attitude resulted from his travels across India while hosting The Freaky Traveller show that aired on

Fox Traveller last year.

“I got to see the whole country,every remote part of it. The communities we know of,such as South Indians and North Indians,we stereotype them,but I met people in regions like Arunachal Pradesh,who were so different that they could not be stereotyped. I found so many communities,which we know little or nothing about,” says the 30-year-old,who will perform in the city on Wednesday. He adds that,while he did come across the stereotypical characters from each community,he also met “intelligent Delhites” and “sober Punjabis” (and “alcohol-consuming Gujaratis” as well).

About inspiration for his comic acts,Bhakta shares what he stays clear off — stereotyping communities,newspaper headlines,political developments and Bollywood action. Instead,he bases his jokes on the intricacies of life in India while comparing it with how it was in the US where he grew up. “I returned to India three years ago and joined a comedy troupe called Schitzengiggles,pronounced ‘shits and giggles’,pun intended. I found the difference in lifestyles funny enough to share it with my audience,” says Bhakta,who entered the comedy circuit when he was 19 years old.

He also sees a world of difference in the comedy scenes in the US and India. “A comedian can’t get on stage and make a joke about something controverisal here. No matter how funny it is,and how hard the audiences laugh,their sentiments will be hurt,” says Bhakta.

Not giving away any details of the non-comedy endeavours in the pipeline,Bhakta reveals that Schitzengiggles is researching for their annual feature called the Film Fail awards,which will be going on tour across the country for the first time this year. “Our judges panel,which includes Karan Talwar,Varun Thakur,Aadar Malik,Neville Shah and myself,all members of the troupe,have gone

through a lot of garbage that Bollywood has produced this year and will be closing on their decisions soon. The show will tentatively go on tour by the end of this year,” he says.

Brij Bhakta will perform today at High Spirits,

Koregaon Park,from 8.30 pm

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