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Goa thinks it’s time for a stand-up applause for comedy

The recent past has seen quite a few stand-up comedy gigs happen in Goa. And if the healthy attendance for such gigs is anything to go by, then it would be safe to conclude that there is a healthy number of takers in Goa for the funny things in life. It is for this reason that more Goan youngsters are getting motivated to host stand-up comedy gigs. In one such gig, currently one of India’s top stand-up comedians, Zakir Khan, performs at Kala Academy today, followed by another top rated stand-up comedian, Atul Khatri, who will perform in Goa later this month.Warren Viegas, the man responsible for getting Zakir Khan to perform in Goa, believes that stand-up comedy in Goa is growing rapidly as is evident by the audience coming out to shows. Warren’s company, Las Viegas Comedy Club (a pun on his own name) has, to date, produced three shows, featuring Kenny Sebastian, Kanan Gill and Sorabh Pant. Warren says, “I was eager to find out if Goa had a comedy market, and invited Kenny Sebastian to Goa to do a public show. The inaugural gig was completely sold-out, with 80 folks standing! I was encouraged by the response and produced two more sold out shows.” A comedian himself, Warren has performed alongside his friends and some of the leading comics in India. To further develop the stand-up comedy scene in Goa and “to turn Goa into a comedy savvy market like the metros”, Warren has started a budding open mic session at Showbar, Taverna and Tito’s Courtyard.
Till now, Goa has seen well known comics like Vir Das, Amogh Ranadive, Radhika Vaz, Neville Shah and Anu Menon, along with those mentioned above, perform in Goa. Another company by the name of Jack of Events (JoE) that has organised a few successful stand-up comedy gigs in Goa, has also worked with Vir Das’ company Weirdass Comedy, to organise the Weirdass Club Smash that was a prelude to Weirdass Pajama Fest. Anoop Allen of JoE seconds Warren’s thoughts about the stand-up comedy culture in Goa, and says, “There is still ample opportunity for experimenting with this form of entertainment. There is indeed a lot of response from the Goan public; we have been seeing a lot of houseful shows of late and hence, I can say that people are definitely open to the concept. There are a couple of players in the market right now and the next couple of months will definitely see a boom in the stand-up comedy scene in terms of frequency of shows as well as venues wanting to experiment with the concept.”
Apart from organising comedy gigs with established comics, a few organisers have been experimenting with the idea of developing the culture in Goa by conducting comedy talent hunts. One such event that was recently held at Showbar by The Goan Comedy Club enjoyed a great response with Goans coming in from all over to support local talent. In fact, when performers lost confidence or forgot a line, it was the crowd that kept them going. Kaif Shaikh, co-founder of The Goan Comedy Club, says, “Our only purpose as comedy promoters was to conduct this hunt to promote local talent. For the past two years, we have been getting comedians from all over India and Dubai as well to perform in Goa. We have seen the culture grow from nothing to a houseful audience. So we thought it was about time that we try and show the other states that Goa has potential.”A hearty laugh is what helps us sail through the testing times that we live in. By getting more people to tickle Goa’s funny bone, a few good souls are setting the right example for the somber ones to follow. [H]

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