Diwali is the time for family, not least because that’s when you receive the prized shagun ka lifafa, aka the much-needed financing for a night of illicit fun with your friends. But to secure that bag, you have to successfully cosplay as a half-decent human being for the evening. Pretending that you actually like your siblings and cousins can really take a toll on your mind and body. So, for some respite (and the added bonus of spending time with the family without having to answer questions about “your future plans”) we’ve curated a family-friendly list of comedy specials. You can confidently hit play without any worries of getting the stink eye from your mami.
Oh, also, happy Diwali!
Amit Tandon – Family Tandoncies
Mining his family for material, Amit Tandon’s second Netflix special Family Tandoncies dropped in 2020. With the distinction of being the streaming platform’s first-ever Hindi special, Tandon’s one-hour long show is a slice-of-married-life which is his forte but—given his knack for observational humour—never gets old. In Family Tandoncies, the comedian (popularly known as ‘the married guy’) explores how romance evolves in long-term marriages, the pitfalls of parenting, and the dynamics of international family vacations, making it a no-brainer when it comes to family-friendly comedy content this Diwali.
Kanan Gill – Yours Sincerely, Kanan Gill
Previously toured as Teetar, Kanan Gill’s first Netflix special (and second one overall) Yours Sincerely, Kanan Gill won the comedian rave reviews when it released mid-lockdown in April 2020. An ode to growing up (in ways your younger self could never have imagined), the 70-minute special does three things well. It showcases Gill’s exceptional way with words, demonstrates his mastery of the observational style, and, most importantly, evokes a sense of nostalgia that is generation-agnostic—making it perfect for watching with the family.
Neeti Palta – Almost Sanskari
In this very personal special, Neeti Palta attempts to decode the inner workings of a comic’s mind. Released in 2019, Almost Sanskaari features relatable-max jokes about her non-traditional upbringing by her mother and Army father, familial safe sex discussions, marriage, and other societal expectations that she happily fails to meet.
Naveen Richard – Relatively Relatable
Performed in Bengaluru and released on Prime Video in March 2020, Naveen Richard’s Relatively Relatable is full of… well, relatively relatable jokes about fridges, surprise birthday parties, cockroaches, toothpaste, and mistakes. Richard’s alter-ego, the bespectacled Xavier Pandian with an explosive personality, makes a guest appearance at the halfway mark and goes on to steal the show—which is not to say Richard as himself is any less compelling. An incredibly easy watch, Relatively Relatable will have you smiling from start to finish.
Russel Peters – Deported
Filmed over two nights at the NSCI in Mumbai, Russell Peter’s Deported toured in over 30 countries over a year-and-a-half before he brought it back home to be recorded for Prime Video. In case you missed it, tickets were priced at up to INR 7,500 and seats ran out faster than you could say “somebody gonna get hurt real bad”. After all, Russell Peters (arguably) put India on the global stand-up comedy map. Deported is about Peters’ experiences growing up as an Indian man, born in Canada, living in Trump’s America—which might be nice to watch given that Trump’s America is a thing of the past.
Jerry Seinfeld – 23 Hours To Kill
A love for Jerry Seinfeld’s brand of ‘comfort food comedy’ transcends generations; chances are your parents love the American standup artist just as much as you do. His last Netflix special is squeaky clean; the word ‘sex’ is used exactly one time and Seinfeld chooses PG-13 topics to poke fun at—from buffets to small talk and marriages to golfing dads. This may well be the only comedy special that’s suitable for ages 7 and above so you can confidently press ‘play’ without worrying about sinister sideways glances from the ‘rents.
Prashasti Singh – Door Khade Sharmaaye
Prashasti Singh’s debut standup special Door Khade Sharmaaye is an ode to ’90s Bollywood nostalgia, an in-depth analysis of the dating app experience, and a walk down memory lane, as Singh lets us in on some of her funnier childhood stories. Released on YouTube in four parts, the special showcases the comedian’s commendable hold over the craft as she draws in the audience with excellent storytelling punctuated with her trademark act-outs. Including two bits of observational humour and two anecdotes, Door Khade Sharmaaye is a clean watch with minimal profanity, so there’s no need to go “fill up a bottle of water” to avoid the piercing glares from the elders.
Rahul Subramanian – Rahul Talks To People
Crowd work is a genre of comedy that really found its calling in the Indian standup scene in the last couple of years. Both, comedians and audiences have embraced this spontaneous brand of humour, enjoying the comedy nuggets that are spawned out of unscripted banter. That’s why when Rahul Subramanian dropped an entire crowd work special on Amazon Prime Video, people jumped at it. An hour-long display of Subramanian’s goofy on-stage personality, this is an easy one for the family to watch while munching on that Diwali farsan.