Evam Standup Tamasha’s new initiative, Tickle Pickle, wants to make comedy more accessible and inclusive
but here is something to chase away your mid-week blues. Evam Stand Up Tamasha is offering Tickle Pickle Thursdays, their all new stand up comic show, which kicked off on August 14. Held every alternate Thursday at Social, the restobar in MRC Nagar, the show is already finding fans. “We’ve had packed houses so far,” begins the show’s director Bhargav Ramakrishnan, explaining that it is a forum for new stand up comedians. “Evam already has a repertory of comics who perform regularly. But for the comedy movement to grow, we need new talent,” he says.
Ramakrishnan tells us that stand up is one of the scariest art forms. “It’s not like theatre where you have a script, a director, co-actors and more to add to the package. With stand up, you are on stage, as yourself, telling lines that you’ve written and thought are funny, to an audience that is looking at you and judging you,” he says. So Tickle Pickle Thursdays works out perfectly. “For first-time comics, such intimate gatherings are a great place to try out new things as a chunk of the audience would be friends whom you can look to for support, and then there are breaks, people having drinks—so it’s very jolly and interactive,” he explains.
While they have discovered some gems—like city boy Alex whose affable personality got his jokes a lot of laughs—auditions are ongoing for the coming sessions. “For our next show, we have comics from Pondicherry and Bangalore,” says Ramakrishnan, adding that variety is the name of the game. “Each comic will bring something different. While some might do affable jokes, others might rant or introduce raunchy material,” he says, adding that the show’s name evolved from the South Indian habit of having pickles (and a laugh) with drinks.
While admitting that comedy is still very nascent in Chennai, Evam’s Karthik Kumar (who did a cameo in the last show), says that it is picking up. “We have new players like Stray Factory, which has ventured into stand up. This is great as we need to build a market,” he says. About whether access to international stand ups make things tough for local talent, Ramakrishnan says, “Stand up culture works best locally. A comedian from Chennai can go on stage and joke about a traffic jam that just happened and that could be the best joke of the evening.”
Up next, Evam plans to take the show to Bangalore. “We also want to branch out into smaller cities and take the stand up movement to places like Coimbatore and Kochi,” he signs off, but not before giving a shout out to the Chennai crowd. “The audience like things big and exaggerated; subtlety is not for them. And since they are high energy, the response for a performer is great.”
September 25, from 8 pm onwards, at Social. Rs.500. Details: in.bookmyshow.com
—Surya Praphulla Kumar