GRIN AND BEER: IMPROV, SAAD KHAN

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.

IMPROV, SAAD KHAN

A film director, acting teacher, creator & host of THE IMPROV, founder and creative head of Centerstage – a film and media production company, the bubbly and zesty Saad Khan is currently preparing for the theatrical release of his third feature film ‘Humble Politician Nograj’. One of his short films called ‘Another kind of black’ was screened at the Cannes film festival in 2008. The Bengaluru boy is loved by the lovers of comedy for his Improv evenings that has left everyone in splits and guffaws.

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

To put it in a fun medical way, laughing suppresses the release of stress hormones and also releases endorphins that make an individual happy. These days, with the amount of workload that comes with even a simple job, people tend to look for an escape from reality and one of the best escapes is laughing. The growing popularity of these comedy nights stems from the fact that they are a perfect distraction away from our hectic work schedules.

How do you curate something different in stand-up comedy? Name some stand-up comedy artists and shows who have performed here?

We are one of India’s most popular Live comedy shows and are called THE IMPROV. The show has no script and is totally improvised. The audiences give suggestions, situations and scenarios to the host and taking the cue, the actors create on-the-spot hilarious scenes on stage. The show is hosted by me and talented artists such as Danish Sait, Sumukhi Suresh, Darius Sunawala, Kenneth Sebastian, Kanan Gill, Sundeep Rao to name a few, have performed with us. Improv and Stand-up are comedic art forms, but with significant differences.

What do people like most about your place? 

People love its spontaneity and the level of involvement that an audience shares with us in our show. Their role in the show and the scenes that the actors perform makes it a memorable experience for them. It almost becomes a classroom, where it’s like a fun quiz organised by the teacher in which everyone wants to partake. This interactive space of fun and comedy which requires audience interaction has given us patrons as well as repeat audiences.

What is planned for the year ahead? Some names that we can expect to see? 

Danish Sait, Sumukhi Suresh and I are a part of a Kannada-English feature film called ‘Humble Politician Nograj’ and it is an extension of the fact that we have been performing with THE IMPROV for a very long time. We are hoping to collaborate with improvisational artists from across India and the world in 2018.