GRIN AND BEER: BFLAT BAR, ARATI RAO SHETTY

Some coffee and chortles seem to be the order of the day at most cafes and bars in Bengaluru and everyone seems to be ready to laugh out loud.

Text by Namita Gupta

It’s a laugh riot out there. The stand-up comedy scene is at an all-time high now in Bengaluru. Not only the regular tipplers but everyone seems to be making the most of their weekends at these stand-up gigs. Cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs are buzzing with comedy evenings and laugh in the Luru are on the rise. The demand for the genre is seeing an upswing and how. Open mic evenings, Improv and Stand-up gigs are clearly the talk of the town. Comedy is serious business for some of these hotspots that are giving Bengalureans a dose of some fun nights with a funny twist. Whoever said ‘Laughter is the best medicine’, said it right. After all who doesn’t like a good laugh. Meet these catalysts who are changing the way we look at entertainment.

BFLAT BAR, ARATI RAO SHETTY

Having been an ad film and music professional, producer of music videos, as well as being an artist, hobbyist, product designer, curator and singer-songwriter, Arati Rao has constantly been reinventing herself. Once she was established as a music professional, singing for advertising jingles; she fronted her own jazz and blues quartet, after moving to Bengaluru and eventually created her own band, Kaya – which today, presents her own lyrics and compositions in a style that is a melange of all her musical influences, including contemporary jazz, blues, old school harmonies of the ’80’s and even a bit from the early 90’s British underground scene. Arati has been responsible for supporting and encouraging independent music by creating a live music platform for musicians. She is one of the founders and does the curating and concert programming at Bengaluru’s BFlat Bar, a highly respected live music venue that has acquired a great reputation with its careful selection of bands and excellent acoustics; always leaving one in anticipation of the acts to follow.

What are the reasons for the popularity of comedy nights with a funny twist?

It’s a new form of entertainment performed by someone that an average person can identify with – a slice of their own ‘real life’, as opposed to the escapism style of Indian cinema, for example. A short time frame within which they can have a hearty laugh over things like day to day mundaneness, relationships, and gender issues as well as to the socio-political scenario of our times. To forget about their worries for a while! It is also something for a person with different tastes – who wants to go out for a short while and experience something live and tangible other than a band, a play or the movies.

Name some stand-up comedy artists and shows who have performed here?

We are among the pioneers of the stand-up comedy scene in Bengaluru. Six years ago, only bFLAT and Urban Solace opened their doors to this form of entertainment. We have had the pleasure of hosting some of the biggest names in the country (Varun Thakur, Sundeep Rao, Tanmay Bhat, Nishant Singh, Anuvabh Pal, Biswa Kalyan Rath, Kannan Gill, Kenny Sebastien, Sorabh Pant, Radhika Vaz, Sanjay Manaktala, Vaibhav Sethia, Karunesh Talwar, Azeem Banatwala, Vipul Goel, and many more!) as well as well-known international stand-up comics (Scott Capuro, Al Pitcher, Kavin Jay, Ro Campbel, Keren B, Bob Maclaren, Kristel Zweer, Raj Sharma and more.

What do people like most about your place?

An intimate atmosphere, a cozy ambiance with a focus on stage lighting, proximity to the stage, excellent acoustics and not to forget, our quality F&B.

What is planned for the year ahead?

The BFlat bar fulfills a vision and is geared towards performance entertainment. We have created a platform for quality, live music and other entertainment in the city; and are grateful to have acquired a reputation for the same with our careful selection of bands and excellent acoustics – leaving one in anticipation of the acts to follow. So just wait and see!