Monday, July 18, 2011

Black Dog Comedy Evening - with Wayne Brady

Preface - Tulleeho asked Raghav Mandava, a Delhi based stand up comic to take on the onerous task of reporting for us live, from the Black Dog Comedy Evenings, which he did with pleasure. 

Wayne Brady
As a comedian in a city which has very little to offer to a standup comedy, I must say it was nice to see a full house at the Black Dog – Wayne Brady, Evening but then again I guess the free invites and the free booze had something to do with it. A Famous comedian friend of mine once mentioned that an international comic will be performing at 50% of his best when he performs in India for the first time, because he will have trouble adapting to all out quirks, diversity and of course language and culture.

Wayne Brady, I think given the circumstances, did an excellent job; once again I’m trying to remain very objective because he is a childhood hero. The first part of his act was a rap in which he had to use the words given by the audience, two of the phrases he had to work with were “Baba Ramdev” and “ulu Da patha”. Even where he went wrong with our lingo and street talk, he acknowledged his mistakes and made them funny too.

However, as a comedian, or even a performer, I feel the audience did not entirely do its part. We sometimes get so caught up in being Indian that we forget that there is a man who has flown down from the United States and even though we may know a lot about his country and culture, he will know very little… and no amount of time spent on Wikipedia, Google or Lonely Planet can make up for actually living here.

Improv comedy is very different from regular stand up comedy, if you are a famous stand up comic, then the audience knows who you are, what kind of jokes you do, and has good idea of what to expect from the artist. An improv comedian has to play off his audience, and the better the audience, the better the performance. I’m not saying it was a bad show, in fact, it was a brilliant show. But I wish we were not so “Delhi” when he came down to entertain us.

Wayne with special guest  Jonathan Mangum
However, the show stopper was well and truly when Wayne did the one thing that made him a hit even in “Whose Line is It Anyway?”, sing. Every comedian no matter how funny will know that is hard enough to come up with a joke when put under the gun, but when Wayne did songs about the topics that we handed over to him, we could not help but admire, groove and laugh. As his brother from How I Met Your Brother says, it was truly “Legendary”

- by Raghav Mandava


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Drinking in Ladakh

Next stop Siachen

In keeping with the landscape, getting a drink in Ladakh is a forbidding task.
Beer in a China Cup

In Leh, 100 Oceans, near a parking lot doesn't look appealing, especially as our group has a bunch of kids. We ask along the way, and finally the friendly folk at Metokling (recommended by Lonely Planet, as it says outside), tell us that if we bring in our own booze, we can drink it discreetly. We hop across to a retail outlet near the Post Office, and pick up 4 bottles of Kingfisher. Back again to Metokling, where we are given 3 china cups of differing shapes, and sizes, one of them with a grateful Winnie the Pooh, with his arms wrapped around a pot of honey. The cups are small, and necessitate frequent refilling from the bottles placed below our feet. We appear to be the only people drinking alcohol here, as the rest of the crowd, largely foreign tourists, are content with their food and conversation, and besides a screening of the Hangover is about to start. 

Winnie the Pooh & Me

The day before in the Nubra valley, my pal and I had walked for half an hour, from our hotel (Yereb Tso) in the town of Tiger, to a larger adjacent town, called Sumur, in search of a drink. It was an amazing walk in the moonlight, with the high mountains of the Karakoram range around us, and the road frequently interrupted with streams flowing across. Hardly any traffic, except the stray biker, making his way onwards, possibly to Panamik, one of the last points before the Siachen Glacier starts.  In Sumur, we climbed a bunch of stairs to a restaurant called Larjan, where Psering, the owner, set a couple of chairs for us on his roof top, and brought us a couple of Godfather Beers and some hot Maggi. The sky was amazingly clear, and as we finished our beer, a group of 4 men trudged across the roof top, past us, the last of them, carrying a bow, and on chatting with him, we found that he had gone for an archery tournament earlier in the day. 

Bring your own booze is my recommendation. Camping on the banks of Pangong Tso, we rued that we had not brought some Single Malt with us. Would have been perfect to combat the biting wind, and the rain.

On the banks of Pangong Tso

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