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    Spread over two weekends, there’s plenty of laughs to be had—US comedian Raj Sharma gets the ball rolling, followed by AIB and Vir Das

    AIB in focus
    This is their first visit to the city after their controversial roast hogged headlines a few months ago. But nothing’s changed for Gursimran Khamba, Tanmay Bhat, Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakiya of AIB. “We’ve just taken it on our chin and moved on. Our job is to create content and comedy, and that’s all we know how to do,” says Shakiya. Bringing fresh jokes and material to town, we can look forward to stand up (tackling everything from politics to travel) and sketches based on films and relationships, besides a Bollywoodesque musical comedy as the finale. “Come see us because we are delusional, funny and also very, very sexy,” he laughs. Jokes apart, he does admit that comedy is a lot of hard work, with ideating and deadlines involved—not just “us sitting around, smoking up and throwing out one liners”. With plans of expanding their digital projects on their YouTube channel and to diversify into movies, Shakiya has just one observation to make before signing off: “I’d love to get my hands on the dope that inspires the fimmakers (in Chennai) to make the kind of movies they do.”

    Vir gets talking
    Since he began touring with Unbelievablish in May, life’s been interesting for Vir Das. “There was once an impromptu marriage proposal, the police showed up at my Delhi show, the Hyderabad audience lit up the stage with their mobile phones during a blackout, I changed guitars thrice and I ran out of underwear frequently—resulting in my having pairs picked up from Kochi to Chandigarh,” laughs the actor-comedian. He’s coming to town next week with the show that has him digging into his life and highlighting key events, but all laced with outrageous fiction and lies. “It was a question of how much I was willing to embarrass myself. And I had a lot to choose from because they are mostly about my failures,” says Das, who is also planning to pen a new show by the end of this year, besides readying to shoot his new film in August (“a role I’ve never done before”) and take Unbelievablish on an international tour.
    With 14 shows having run to packed houses, Das says he will be presenting nine of his stories in the city. And since he is coming to the home of ‘entertainment’, we thought we’d ask the Rajnikanth fan a quick byte on our cinema.
    Why does Tamil cinema make for great entertainment?
    Your actors seem to defy gravity a little more than ours!
    Lessons to learn from our heroes.
    They seem to embody all of the qualities of the Avengers: everyone has a little bit of the Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man and Thor in them. It is so cool.

    According to Raj
    From sunny California, Raj Sharma, an Indian-American comic, is coming to sunny Chennai. And the 39-year-old has high hopes about his first time in the city. “I first came to India in 2013, and since then I’ve had some of my best shows here, like last year’s performance at High Spirits in Pune, which was packed, and another in Delhi, where people turned up despite a torrential downpour,” begins Sharma, who is here as part of Comic House Mafia, a show that also features comedians Alexander Babu, Deepu Dileepan and Vikram Nathumani.
    With a repertoire that includes a lot of observational humour, he promises a show with plenty of LOL moments. “I joke about my family, things I’ve seen and I do a lot of audience interaction. There will be something for everybody,” says Sharma, who began performing in 2002, though he says, “I knew I wanted to do comedy ever since I saw Eddie Murphy’s Delirious when I was 11.” The comic, who claims inspiration usually strikes him when he is in the shower or listening in on conversations, believes the Indian audience is largely open-minded, but for some it’s still a catch up game. “After the AIB Roast, I found it hilarious that people got offended on someone else’s behalf. Now, ahead of my shows in places like Delhi, where people can get a little aggressive, I give a warning: ‘if you came here expecting Kapil Sharma, I am not him. So if you want to leave, I’d leave now.’ And some have actually left!” he remarks. But for the city, he promises a good time. “And if you get your feelings hurt, they were hurt before you walked into the door,” he concludes.

    Surya Praphulla Kumar

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