Every Indian Comedy Special Released In 2023 (So Far)

By DA Staff 3 April 2023 6 mins read

Here's a comprehensive list of all the specials that have come out in 2023 so far.

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After a couple of lean years, Indian comedy has cranked the streaming special pipeline up to max productivity. The first quarter of 2023 has already seen releases by old favourites (Rahul Subramanian, Daniel Fernandes) and star debutantes (Anubhav Singh Bassi, Abhishek Upmanyu). The second quarter was equally packed with debuts from fan favourites (Prashasti Singh, Punit Pania, Zarna Garg) as well as a long-awaited release by Biswa Kalyan Rath. Q3 saw an almost unanimous acceptance of YouTube by young upstarts and established veterans alike. The final leg of 2023 was looking bare-bones up until December. Then Zakir Khan and Aakash Gupta decided to turn up. Now we’re ending the year with a bang!

16 – 23 December: Aakash Gupta – Angry Young Man (Insider)

Excuse me, brother! Aakash Gupta’s debut standup special is here. The co-winner of the second season of Comicstaan will be streaming his first-ever standup special Angry Young Man on The hour-long special will be streaming for one week between 16 and 23 December. According to a press statement, the show will feature Gupta venting his frustration about everything from his childhood to his tour of Europe.

7 December: Zakir Khan – Mann Pasand (Amazon Prime India)

Is this the year of Zakir Khan? He’s book-ending a spectacular year with a brand new special Mann Pasand—his fourth—which releases on 7 December on Amazon Prime Video. The comedian made headlines in October when he became the first Asian comedian to perform at London’s Royal Albert Hall, receiving a 20-minute standing ovation from over 6,000 people in the audience. He’s also bagged the people’s choice DeadAnt Comedy Award ‘23 (DACA) for Best Online Comedy Special and is gearing up for a show at Madison Square Garden early next year.

9 October: Abhishek Upmanyu – Jealous Of Sabziwala (YouTube)

The comedian is back on the list for the same special. It’s not because we love him so much (though we do) but because he decided to finally let everyone watch the whole special for free. Thanks, Upmanyu!

22 September: Priyanshu Bharadwa – Arranged Marriage (YouTube)

Priyanshu Bharadwa’s Arranged Marriage is predominantly a crowd work special. Over its 42 minute length, Bharadwa draws from audience experiences on an array of topics like selling cigarettes, Indian youth, and arranged marriages. If you were wondering whether there’s a J missing from Priyanshu’s last name, don’t worry, he’s got you covered; there’s a bit in here about being teased for having a unique name.

1 September: Akshay Srivastava – Ek Tarfa Pyaar (YouTube)

Akshay Srivastava’s tells us a story of unrequited love in this genre-bending standup special. Ek Tarfa Pyaar touches on themes like class discrimination, the Big Fat Indian Wedding and the search for true love, all weaved together with short recitations of poetry.

4 August: Amit Tandon – Masala Sandwich (YouTube)

Pegged as the work that’s closest to Amit Tandon’s heart, Masala Sandwich is a six-part comedy special that the comedian fine-tuned over 200 shows in 18 different countries. Tandon broaches some difficult topics on here, with a darker edge than you’d expect from his usually affable, family-oriented style.

23 July: Navin Noronha – The Good Child (YouTube)

Navin Noronha tries to reclaim the word “guud” in his new special The Good Child, taking us on a personal journey that involves growing up in a conservative catholic family, coming out as gay in India, touring, dating and finding love.

7 July: Aakash Mehta – Nasty (YouTube)

Aakash Mehta’s second special of the year is all about the things that are considered taboo in Indian society. In Nasty, the comedian talks about everything we avoid saying to protect our sansakri image. With his trademark rapid-fire delivery, he addresses everything from censorship to sex education, misinformation, sexual awakening, masturbation and even cervical cancer.

7 July: Kanan Gill – Is This It? (Insider)

Kanan Gill’s Is This It? revolves around existential themes. The comedian poses tough questions about the good life and happiness, and why neither seems truly achievable. “I have the answers, that’s really what the show is about. I mean, I have an answer. You might not like it. Or you might love it, I  don’t know you. But it’s worth watching and deciding for yourself.” Is This It? was a two-hour-long show that Gill made available on for a limited time period, but there is a sizeable chunk on YouTube in case you missed it.

5 July: Vivek Samtani – Thankyou, Mom and Dad (YouTube)

Vivek Samtani’s 33-minute YouTube special is a smorgasbord of family dynamics, love, oppression, and the position of women in Indian society wrapped up in a heartfelt package straight from Jabalpur. The cherry on top is a moving poem addressed to his father.

6 June: Prashasti Singh – Door Khadi Sharmaaye (YouTube)

With a four-part release of her special, Prashasti Singh takes us through a romantic tragedy that’s vulnerable yet nuanced. Prashasti makes a strong case for a new weekly-upload format, giving the audience enough pace to reflect on her observations but yet aching to know how the complete story unfolds, with two parts yet to be released.

10 June: Punit Pania – No Country For Moderation (YouTube)

In his debut special, Punit Pania explores the divide between politics, rational thought and the role he plays in its interpretation through comedy. With a unique

16 May: Zarna Garg – One in a Billion (Prime Video)

One in a Billion is Zarna Garg’s incredible debut at stand up. The special is full of hilarious and detailed punchlines about Zarna’s version of living the American dream, but with an Indian mentality. She’s a master at fair yet cheeky assessments regarding her mother-in-law, the Gen Z generation and wholesome moments that leave you wanting more.

May 5: Biswa Kalyan Rath – Mood Kharab (Prime Video)

Rath’s Mood Kharab takes you on a vivid journey through the eccentric misadventures of middle-class India and the tendency to be irritable. He hilariously dissects life’s quirks, relatable anecdotes, and proves that even when things go hilariously wrong, laughter is always the best medicine.

March 30: Rahul Subramanian – Rahul Talks To People (Prime Video)

During the pandemic, Rahul Subramanian really got into crowd-work. So much so that he’s just dropped a full special of him, err, talking to people. The wholesome special compiles conversations the comedian had with audiences across six shows in five cities, covering topics such as cricket umpires, corporate culture, marketing and the tech sector.

March 1: Aakash Mehta – No Smoking (YouTube)

On No Smoking, Aakash Mehta shows that you can still put a new spin on old toilet humour, extracting fresh laughs from bodily fluids and the bog-roll/bum-jet debate. Mehta’s charming one-of-us delivery keeps you engaged, while his observational insights add substance to the performance.

February 19: Abhishek Upmanyu – Jealous of Sabziwala (YouTube)

Abhishek Upmanyu tackles his mental health—comedy’s current cause célèbre—on this stellar debut. Everything is a target, from his own narcissism to mortality and healthcare-via-WebMD.

February 3: Daniel Fernandes – Alive And Vaccinated (YouTube)

On Alive and Vaccinated, Daniel Fernandes shows off his mastery of the comedic form, inverting structures and subverting expectations as he moves from Big Ticket pandemic issues to intimate insights about the personal stuff (like sliding into DMs).

February 1: Anubhav Singh Bassi – Bas Kar Bassi (Prime Video)

Bassi’s comedy is built on being your friendly neighbourhood story-teller: making you feel like you were drinking with a friend who loves to tell tall tales, often so amused at himself he can’t stop chuckling. Bas Kar Bassi proves that he can scale that feeling up to arena-sized spectacle.  

December 26, 2022: Vir Das – Landing (Netflix)

Okay, this one actually came out in December 2022, but since Vir Das insists on releasing specials when the year-end lists are already written up (why do you hate comedy critics, Vir?) we’re grandfathering it in here. Landing shows Das coming to terms with his success and the positives (global tours, the international spotlight) as well as the negatives (protests, the domestic TV news spotlight). Chicken soup for the comedic soul.


DA Staff

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