BENGALURU: That laughter is the best medicine is an old adage. And, Suno Bey, a standup collective, has been trying to ensure that Bengalureans get a healthy dose of this as early as possible.
The group hosts an open mic at Cubbon Park every Sunday, which sees morning walkers, pet owners, families and other visitors share a hearty laugh over the sketches performed by the comedians. But why this unusual location for an open mic?
“It is the most happening place in Bengaluru on a Sunday morning,” answers Debasish Rath, who forms the collective along with Jitesh Hingorani, Rishabh Kanishka, Sid Agarwal and Kritesh Singh.
What started as an experiment in October 2018 has become a consistent event at the park. It is free for all and has at least 10 comics performing over two sets, beginning at 8.30 am.
“If people are still around after 11am, we add in a third set too,” says Rath, a 35-year-old engineer, adding that the idea is to promote the art.
“Yes, standup is popular, but how many people have viewed it live? Most tend to only watch videos,” adds Hingorani.
These events are a good way for the group to promote themselves, and they also invite visitors to attend their curated open mics, some of which are ticketed. But that isn’t their sole aim.
Rath says it takes a comedian about 400 such open mics to build material for a successful one-hour set. Here, each comic gets to experiment with their material.
And Abhishek Singh got just the platform he needed to build his skills in comedy. The software engineer began his stint right here 10 months ago, and says he is confident enough now to participate in other productions and live shows.
Krishna Subramamiam, on the other hand, has been doing live shows for a while, but finds the vibes at Cubbon Park an interesting challenge.
“It’s obviously not the same as a pub or bar. Here, people are a bit sleepy and since it’s too early in the day, you have to ease into your jokes before bringing out the heavy stuff,” says the 28-year-old, whose performed a funny take on the casual racism Indians harbour.
Kanishka, who also performed at the event, says the open mics always see 25-30 people stopping by. For Jeanne Rozario, this was the first time she encountered the comedians opposite the State Central Library. The copywriter says, “It was a good start to my morning, which has definitely set the mood for the rest of my day.”
Like Rozario, Abhishek Jhajhria too was there for the first time, but as a performer. The doctor who moonlights as a comedian preferred the space purely for its open-air environment.
“If your jokes bomb here, it feels less uncomfortable than in a closed environment, especially one with spotlights, a mic and the entire setup,” he explains.
The thought was echoed by Lokesh Sanghi, who has been attending these shows for two months. The 23-year-old student says he too might try out his own material next month, adding, “I have the content, just need some courage now.”