Amazon Prime Video’s new reality show Comicstaan is a nine-part series aimed to find the next best stand-up comedian/comedienne of the country. And as far as pilots go, this one doesn’t let on much, just like the rest of the pilots. There is no immediate pay-off. And maybe that is how it is meant to be.
Comicstaan’s first episode is about auditions and the series is judged by India’s rising stars of the comedy scene – Tanmay Bhat, Biswa Kalyan Rath, Kanan Gill, Kenny Sebastian, Kaneez Surka, Naveen Richard and Sapan Verma. The show is hosted by Abish Mathew and Sumukhi Suresh, popular faces of the digital world. The first episode primarily deals with auditions and how our judges sit and decide upon the top ten finalists they want to see in the show.
We are introduced to the contestants via their audition clips, some of them amusing, some, not so much. But the ‘fun’ banter between the judges and the hosts prior to the auditions is unnecessary and doesn’t do anything for the show, except waste its time. To put it bluntly, the first half of the first episode is a drag. But things pick up pace in the latter half of the show. And that is largely because a few routines were quite funny. Nothing earth shattering, or new. Except maybe the one piece by Sejal Bhat, that stood out for its ingenuity. Who would have thought of generating electricity through masturbation? Sejal did. And you would have to watch her piece to know how lively and engaging she was throughout the whole thing.
However, apart from that, everything seemed a bit tired and worn out, which is not something you would want from a show that has vowed to give the country its next Biswa Kalyan Rath/Kanan Gill/Tanmay Bhat. But there is a silver lining. In the second episode of the show, when the ten contestants take the stage for real, and not just through a random video or clip, you actually get involved in the whole process. You listen more carefully, and the laughs get a little better. In the second episode as well, there was one comedienne that stood out. Prashasti Singh from Amethi in her routine spoke of how coming from a small place and finding your footing in the big city can be nerve-wracking. And how finding love in a big city can emotionally drain you. It’s an excellent and relatable routine for those who have experienced dating through apps.
Maybe, it is too soon to judge. But apart from a few routines, there’s nothing spectacularly engaging about this new Amazon Prime series.