One million views on YouTube isn’t much these days for an Indian standup comedy video. Scores of videos have crossed that mark comfortably, including some by comedians that aren’t even well established in their careers.
Still, there are some videos out there that, for one reason or another, haven’t hit the mark, though they deserve to. We scoured the internet for seven videos that we think you should watch and share and generally nudge their views numbers up towards a million.
Some of these are by now pretty well-known comedians, but we threw them in anyway because these particular videos hadn’t got the attention we think they deserve. (Some of these videos may well cross the mark soon, but at the time of publishing, they hadn’t.)
1. Naveen Richard on Calling Emergency Services
Richard has several videos up on YouTube as well as his own Amazon special, but this bit is our favourite of all his work online. He starts with a wonderfully familiar observation: that none of us quite know the emergency numbers for different services in our cities. The bit then develops into a scene of Richard trying to call the fire department to tell them that a bush is on fire, but struggling with his Hindi. His weak Hindi has been a running gag in Richard’s work, showing up in the series StarBoyz, Better Life Foundation and his standup material, but after all this time, it’s still bloody funny.
2. Govind Menon on TV and Roadies
Menon has only one standup video up online, but even here it’s apparent that he’s a confident, experienced joke-writer and performer. Here, he rants about the uniquely Indian TV phenomenon, MTV Roadies.
3. Abijit Ganguly on the National Anthem Controversy
Ganguly has by now built up a large and loyal following, and most of videos have long cleared the million mark. This particular one, however, hasn’t, perhaps because it’s not as slickly produced as his other videos. But we think it’s his best work online. It moves from pointless displays of patriotism at theatres, to Honey Singh to the main subject of the bit—the poet Mohammed Iqbal’s shift in world view between writing ‘Saare Jahaan Se Achcha’ and ‘Tarana-e-Milli’. Ganguly gets into a brilliant act out between Jinnah and Iqbal, then masterfully transitions into Marwari weddings before coming right back to his main thread. It’s finely crafted, bold, political and hilarious AF.
4. Aishwarya Mohanraj on Why She Deserved To Win Comicstaan
Compared to Prashasti Singh, Mohanraj had an uneven run through Comicstaan, but she was still easily our second favourite, at her best when she’s showing off her genuinely weird sense of humour. Though she can get very dark at times, this video (her best on Comicstaan) is relatively light-hearted: in a haughty drawl she explains why she’s “best amazing comic”. It’s a riot, and slayed the judges, the studio audience and us sitting at home.
5. Sourav Ghosh on making YouTube videos
Ghosh’s video opens with a disclaimer that it’s too long. And it is, long and rambly and without the sharpness of his other material online. But if you are already a fan, then it’s a lot of fun—a glimpse into his twisted way of looking at the world. (Another one, titled Michael Phelps v/s Shark, is also good, and still has under a million views.) He talks about working for Biswa Kalyan Rath, setting up his own channel and shooting a sketch with his wife. A bonus in the video is the sketch itself, which plays at the end. It seems to be about him teasing his wife about her father’s remarriage. And then he gets a call from her father, played by an actor who looks only slightly older than Ghosh. It’s bizarre and makes no sense whatsoever, but is still somehow oddly compelling.
6. Navin Noronha on Being Gay
Navin Noronha is an experienced Mumbai-based comedian, one of only two (along with Vasu Primlani) in India to come out as queer. In this bit, Noronha mines his experience as a gay man to hilarious results.
7. Vinay Sharma on Dumb Charades
Like the best observational bits, Sharma’s on dumb charades leaves you marvelling at just how universal some seemingly random experiences are. Sharma neatly deconstructs the experience of playing dumb charades with a group, with that one bad actor, bad guessers and people who think they’re outsmarting the competition by assigning their competitors movies with unusually long names.