BENGALURU: Think comedy, think a traditional standup set. But an upcoming comedy festival aims to change that notion of comedy by introducing people to newer forms and talents in comedy.
Called The Circuit, the two-day event by OML brings together local and non-local comedians for a lineup of around 10 shows, featuring names like Kaneez Surka, Sejal Bhat, Tanmay Bhat, Sahil Shah and city comedians like Shankar Chugani, Arnav Rao, Arnika Jain and more.
“The idea is to allow people to sample a lot in those two days, so we have multiple stages, venues and genres for one to check out,” says Gunjan Arya, CEO, OML Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.
In order to be more inclusive, the festival, which takes place on March 7 and 8, also includes a show called 2 Queer 2 Hilarious, where members from the queer community, like Navin Noronha and Sushant Divgikar, will tickle the audiences’ funny bones with topics related to comedy, drag, shade, improv and more.
The Bengaluru showcase, on the other hand, will have names like Gautham Govindan, Shamik, Navin Kumar, Ramya Ramapriya and Saikiran spearheading the show as they try to bring to light the best of the city’s comedy scene.
City-based standup comedian Arnika Jain, who will be a part of the festival’s women showcase, says opportunities like this, which are on a wider scale, might compel more people to head out for a collective experience, more so because of the variety in shows offered. The benefits for comedians too are plenty, especially for women counterparts, since most tend to harbour pre-conceived notions about them being unfunny.
“People think we only talk about things they can’t relate to. B ut with a special lineup of six comedians, all talking about a variety of issues, you’re bound to find at least one person you could connect with. And this way, people might choose to consume more content by women comics,” explains the 26-year-old.
According to Arya, the festival also hopes to give audiences the chance to discover newer talent, a thought that Jain echoes as well. She explains, “For example, in the women showcase, you have a mix of crowd pullers like Kaneez Surka and Sejal Bhat. And then you have aspiring talent as well. So it works well for the audience and talent.”
Agrees Arnav Rao, who says one would be exposed to different voices, opinions, comedians, styles of comedy, thoughts and more. “A big takeaway is also getting an insight into how comedy is made,” says the comedian, while referring to the comedy on the spot show of the festival. Like improv, the comedians on stage will be given a topic, usually random, upon which they then have to come up with a humorous set. “So audience members can actually see the hard work that goes into making a joke,” he adds.