Walk in for some shakahari laughs, Hyderabad based stand up comedian with his pure veg jokes

Saikiran, the hilarious comic who does it with a straight face, opens up about his upcoming special Pure Veg Jokes.
Saikiran's performance
Saikiran's performance

HYDERABAD: You seldom come across comics who say ‘I was always interested in stand-up comedy’, because, for most, it has been an accident. That wasn’t the case with city-based comedian Saikiran. Ahead of his upcoming stand-up special on Sunday, the otherwise shy guy, opens up about his comedy, how Hyderabad has been faring, comedy on social media and more.

Saikiran’s journey to stand-up comedy was simple, and not dramatic like most others. “I grew up watching Jay Leno, Seinfeld, etc., on TV. Once YouTube and broadband came to India, I was thankful that stand-up became more accessible. It made watching all the great comics of the world very easy.”

Saikiran had always wanted to do stand-up, but gigs were happening only in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. When the very first open mic contest in Hyderabad was organised by comedian Rajasekhar Mamidanna, Saikiran won it and there has been no looking back ever since.

His show on Sunday at Aaromale, Film Nagar Road Number 12, is titled Pure Veg Jokes — not surprising, coming from him! He has some exciting news for fans, he says: “It’s actually a show for which I had toured all over India before the pandemic. I was supposed to record and release the show before embarking on a tour of my new show called Nearly Nice Guy, but couldn’t do it due to Covid. So, I am again doing one last round of touring beginning with Hyderabad, before I record and release the show.”

Pure Veg Jokes is primarily about the comic’s childhood — growing up in a middle-class, conservative South India family, with an older sibling. “I would recommend any new fan of mine, who has only watched me on YouTube or Instagram, to check this show out — it’s going to be highly relatable and funny while answering a lot of questions about me,” he says.

About the stand-up scene in Hyderabad and where it’s headed, Saikiran says, “We have an excellent scene — the colleagues and audience are highly collegial and cooperative. Quite a few Hyderabad comedians such as Rupali Tyagi, Anurag Singh and Kirtiraj have released well-received videos recently. A few have also started doing some solo shows. Obviously, the pandemic did disrupt our plans, but now things are opening up. As we’re slowly seeing the end of the ‘pandemic’ tunnel, open mics have resumed. Let’s hope 2022 will make up for all the disappointment of the last two years.”

Just like his peers, Saikirans’s heart beats for Telugu stand-up, which he had been trying since 2015. He launched his Telugu solo show Navvi Poduru Gaaka (come, laugh and leave) in Hyderabad in 2019 and had even toured for it across other South Indian cities. “But, I couldn’t release any videos because earlier, one had to go to Mumbai to record live stand-up. It wasn’t feasible to record a Telugu show there. Now that we can record one at pretty venues such as Rangbhoomi and Aaromale, we will do that and release videos which should bring in more audience to Telugu shows,” he hopes.

The advent of reels saw the rise of several content creators/comedians on Instagram. But Saikiran believes nothing beats live comedy. “It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that you will thoroughly enjoy. If you are in places where live comedy is not accessible, then check out some online shows via Zoom, where you can be part of a live show and interact with the comic. They may not be as exciting as live shows, but as that famous ad tagline goes ‘inchu minchu sari saati’ (pretty much the same),” he laughs.

Though Covid has made many wary of any goal setting, Saikiran seeks nothing more than wanting to get better and better at the art form, and reaching out to bigger and better audiences. In the last year, he has become a regular creator on Instagram with his Comedy Monologue Reels which has greatly expanded his audience — some of his videos such as The Wedding Menu Card — went viral. “This year, along with reels, I hope to release more stand-up videos and long-form sit-down comedy videos on YouTube,” he signs off.

Pue Veg Jokes
When Sunday, 6 pm
Where Aaromale, Film Nagar

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The New Indian Express