My Debut at The Comedy Store Mumbai

by Pawan Manghnani on November 2nd, 2012

October 2012 was the month where I had done 9 shows which were the maximum I have done in any month, Now this might be a small number for a full time comedian based in Mumbai. But as a part-timer that's all I can manage after work. 

Just after opening the Dubomedy Desi Show in The Address Dubai Marina for one of India's Top 6 Comics, Sorabh Pant. Went to Mumbai (After a 4 year hiatus) to check out the comedy scene there at the All India Bakchod Night on 30th Oct 2012. Comedy in India is quite matured and different than what we are used to in the Middle East. They joke about politics, religion, sex, basically just about anything under the sun. Had a good laugh, mingled with the comedians & producers & was offered to perform at the open mic night next day. Hesitant at first, as my usual set is quite clean and aimed at international nationalities.

But after a big push from Sorabh, I agreed to take up the chance with a 80% new set written the very morning of the show. While writing the new set, Had kept in mind the young college going crowd of 18 - 24 years old who were the majority at the previous night's show.

7:30pm in the evening, the very talented MC Sahil Bulla briefs all 18 comedians "SO these are the rules of the competition.." Shocked beyond my wits: "Hang on Sahil, WHAT competition??? isn't this an open mic night where comedians try out new material ???" Sahil: "Umm, nobody informed you this was a competition? oh, ok its not necessary that one has to win." Me: no dude, if its a competition i need to be prepared accordingly. "

45 mins left for the show, I moved away from all the commotion & tried changing my material for the 2nd time. Tensed, Messaged my mentor Ali Al Sayed asking for end moment tips. (who at the time was performing in New York City at the Famed Gotham Comedy Club) He replied coolly: "Just have fun on stage"

When the doors opened at 8:30pm & the crowd rushed in, my heart sank as i realized that the set i had written this morning & changed a few mins back had to be changed yet again as the audience were mostly middle-aged couples. Hundred of questions dogged me, will this new bold untried set work? What if the uncle-aunties get offended? Should I change my set for the 3rd time? Should i use my usual set? Freak, should I back out while i still have the chance? But there was no time to think as the line-up was announced.

Fortunately I went in 7th so i had some time to grasp what was happening, But unfortunately my best jokes that work in Dubai & Far East fell flat ! But had no time to panic as each comic was given only a 5 minute slot to prove his worth. Luckily, I remembered the words "Have Fun On Stage" just in time & so changed things right there & did some improvised stuff for the first time which somehow clicked well with the audiences.

Some of the other comedians were darn good, making me feel that we still have to go a long way to go in Dubai. But only 2 Finalists out of 18 were to be chosen based on a laugh-o-meter, which recorded the audiences cheers and laughs during each set. There was no way of knowing who had come out on top, we could guess, but it was a nail biting suspense.

By the time they announced the finalists, all my nails were over !! But I made the cut, to the final round. Both me and the other finalist were given an additional 1 minute slot in a "Joke Off" round. (Pardon the Pun) The winner of the night getting a slot in one of the more popular nights. The other guy was good, his material more localized than mine & well-deservedly won eventually (His 7th time trying to win the raw open mic competition) but my fight wasn't that bad & i am sure the next time i am there..

Gonna win it..  ;)

Posted in Events, Theatre    Tagged with Comedy Store, Mumbai, Pawan, Manghnani, Desi, Dubomedy


dolly shenoy - August 29th, 2013 at 9:11 AM
too good !!
Fiona A - September 2nd, 2013 at 3:27 AM
love your writing style,
you should write more ;)

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