Published: 17th April 2018
Thanks to these two groups, Bhubaneswar is the latest city to be smitten by stand-up comedy
Bhubaneswar Komedians and The Chain Jokers are the champions of stand-up comedy culture in the city. Here's their secret
Stand-up comedy is no longer jostling for space among films and music. Of late, it has caught the attention of thousands of people in Bhubaneswar, who have started attending ticketed live comedy shows and a group of funny boys is to be credited for this change.
Bhubaneswar currently has two groups — Bhubaneswar Komedians and The Chain Jokers — who have been instrumental in expanding the scope of stand-up, once the sole preserve of the metros, in Odisha. Coming from different backgrounds — some engineers, some lawyers and some from the corporate sector — they have been charming audience with hilarious anecdotes about everything under the sun. Not only is their fan base increasing because of their humour, but the number of aspiring stand-up comedians in the circuit is also on the rise. In fact, the youth in the city are now looking at stand-up as a full-fledged career.
Stand-up comedy is on the rise in Bhubaneswar so much so that people are looking forward to performances
Founded three years ago by Raouf Gangjee, who is an Indo-German and runs Kalkutta Komedians, Bhubaneswar Komedians was started with open mics at cafes. A year later, he handed over the responsibility to comedians Satyabrat Mohapatra, Akash Baghar, Chetan Anand Sahu, Alokesh Sinha and Asit Ranjan Panigrahi. The group has done 70 shows in the last one year and their comedy has an engaging narrative that is decorated with punch lines.
Both lawyers by profession, Asit picks on politicians and Akash caters to the local audience by hitting local topics like the Rasgulla rights, fake placements in engineering colleges and the flyover accident. Alokesh, an English Honours graduate from Ravenshaw University, has the unique ability of rapid speech that he incorporates in his jokes and Satyabrat, an engineer, cracks ‘middle class jokes’ with a pinch of job life reference to cater to the IT sector audience. They organise one public show every month and regular open mics for aspiring comics.
All smiles: The stand-up comedy group, Bhubaneswar Komedians
The Chain Jokers, a relatively new group, was founded in October 2016 by Tanmay Sharma, Priyaranjan Sahoo, Snehalok Sahoo, Ashish Agarwal and Roshan Bisoi. Tanmay is an MBA grad, while Priyaranjan Sahoo is an interior designer who is the only performer in Bhubaneswar to successfully perform one-hour specials. Snehalok Sahoo, Ashish Agarwal and Roshan Bisoi are B Tech graduates. In addition to the founders, the team has grown with the inclusion of artistes like Shivashis Sarangi, Abhijit Mohanty and Kushal Kanungo.
The Chain Jokers perform regularly at various venues, primarily at Central Perk 7, Bhubaneswar. They hold regular, free open mics and shows at Central Perk 7 on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. Apart from that, they organise a variety of shows every month, which are ticketed. “Open mics are like net practice where we test our jokes and anyone can come and try the same. On that note, you are free to come and perform or even just witness a work in progress,” says Roshan. The comedians themselves have honed their skills through open mics.
Though Bhubaneswar Komedians have been around, The Chain Jokers are a relatively new group and are going strong
He adds that their shows are unique as they work as a collective while keeping the individuality intact. “Though our perspectives differ from each other, we come together to write a show or a parody and that brings out a lot of newness every time. In addition to that, our humour ranges from Bhubaneswar to Brooklyn, to make audiences of all categories LOL. We have performed at several college shows and every time, it is a mix of our regular sets and curated sets related to the college. Relatable content wins over everything else in this performance art,” he adds. The Chain Jokers group has started its own production house, which will come up with interesting videos for their social media platforms.
The comedians feel stand-up is still in the nascent stage in the state and each of them is contributing in their own way to expand the industry of comedy. “When compared to the global stand-up scene, the national scene is probably an infant and the scene in Bhubaneswar is like an embryo. However, the scene is improving and we are witnessing a regular influx of audiences and performers alike,” says Roshan.
Funny guys: The Chain Jokers in one frame
And Satyabrat agrees. He says that the comedy scene is catching up and people are looking forward to shows. “The significant increase in the number of stand-up comedians and participants has itself been a parameter to judge the scene,” he adds. The ‘Komedians’ will soon be individually doing one-hour specials in the city.