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It’s the season to tickle your funny bone, with comedy festivals like Stage 42 and the Weirdass Pajama Fest heading nationwide. Here’s what to expect

The first month of the year has something infectious in the air. The buzz on stages across the country is all about laughing out loud and witty comebacks. While on television, Cyrus Sahukar is coming out with Challenge Accepted, a comic dare game on Comedy Central,
elsewhere, there are two big comdey festivals about to kick off—OML’s Stage 42 and the Weirdass Comedy Pajama Fest. Being staged almost simultaneously across major Indian cities, we take a sneak peek into the impending laughterthon.

RadhikaVaz, NY-Mumbai

The award-winning comedian, who commutes between New York and Mumbai, has a lot to celebrate. Her one-woman shows, including Older. Angrier. Hairier, have sold out in the US and all over India; she’s currently writing a TV pilot based on her popular web series, Shugs
& Fats (which won the Gotham Independent Film Award in New York), and her new book is out.

What to expect at the show, Unladylike: I’m hoping bladder control issues brought on by belly laughs. Plus my book, Unladylike, A Memoir, will be available at the venue and I will be signing it and hugging people. Not the ones that wet themselves, though.
If you were given a chance to form a club, what would it be: A feminist ganja club. I want all women to understand and experience the healing effects of MaryJane.
Who’d win in a catfight between Mamata Banerjee and Hillary Clinton: Didi would kick Hillary’s ass from here to eternity. Mamata is a ninja. Plus, you don’t cross a Bengali woman. Ever.
On February 5. At Alliance Francaise, Bengaluru

AIB, Mumbai

They are the country’s edgiest comedy collective. Comprising Gursimran Khamba, Tanmay Bhat, Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya, the All India Bakchod (AIB) is currently hosting their own
satirical news show on Star World, On Air with AIB, besides posting various sketches on
their YouTube Channel (with close to 1.5 million subscribers). And now they hope to launch
their own national holiday, AIB Diwas,
at the Stage 42 festival.

What is AIB Diwas: It’s going to be a fun day out for AIB fans in a relaxed informal environment. We will be doing three special shows, including a live podcast. It’s going to be a fairly exclusive show with only 3,000 people.
Upcoming projects: Besides touring Australia in May, we’re launching AIB First Draft. It’s a screen-writing programme that we are very passionate about because we think there’s loads of talent in India and this would be a great way to get a lot of fresh, interesting content made.
2015 was the ‘Year of the butt’. What’s 2016 going to be: It’s going to be the year of the elbow. For far too long it has been ignored. But this year, the elbow will nudge (get it?) the butt out.
How ‘free’ is Free Basics: It is very free. It’s the consumers using Free Basics who aren’t really free. ​

On February 20. At PJ Hindu Gymkhana Grounds, Mumbai

Kanan Gill, Bengaluru

Kanan Gill and Biswa Kalyan Rath rose to fame via their inimitable YouTube series, Pretentious Movie Reviews—where they review and ridicule yesteryear Bollywood films. Now they’ve come up with a brand new live show, Kiswa and Banana, to make you laugh and ponder over
their real-life observations.

What can we expect with your new show: Stand up comedy, laughter and deep psychological problems. Will Indians really use Netflix or continue flicking from the Net: I think we’ve got several years of  torrent-related guilt in all of our souls. So  probably we’ll use Netflix (until the guilt goes  away, and then back to flicking).
On Varun Dhawan comparing Dilwale to Inception: If you made a graph of good movies vs time, then Inception would be in the middle and Dilwale would be the splatter of blood on the paper from  you having killed yourself after watching it. On January 31, 6 pm, BITS Pilani, Shamirpet

Kenny Sebastian, Bengaluru

What can we expect with your new show: Stand up comedy, laughter and deep psychological problems. Will Indians really use Netflix or continue flicking from the Net: I think we’ve got several years of  torrent-related guilt in all of our souls. So  probably we’ll use Netflix (until the guilt goes  away, and then back to flicking). On Varun Dhawan comparing Dilwale to Inception: If you made a graph of good movies vs time, then Inception would be in the middle and Dilwale would be the splatter of blood on the paper from  you having killed yourself after watching it.
On January 31, 6 pm, BITS Pilani, Shamirpet

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