Abhishek Upmanyu is a bona fide Indian comedy star. He began uploading videos on YouTube in 2017 and has since then amassed a following of 1.4 million subscribers. He has ridden that popularity to reach larger audiences, touring his show Thoda Saaf Bol internationally in 2017, even as he took his trial show Single Malt Rotten Eggs to cities across India. So far, Upmanyu has uploaded five bits of comedy onto his YouTube channel, four of which have racked up more than 10 million views each. Here are the five videos, ranked.
5. This is a short, neatly constructed bit on eating at Barbeque Nation. It was uploaded in 2018, and showcases Upmanyu’s significantly tightened control over his performance compared to his 2017 videos. It feels like the excesses of his delivery have been pared off, leaving just the tense, coiled energy that makes him so watchable.
4. In this video from 2017, Upmanyu asks the big question: why exactly are we supposed to respect elders?
3. The Delhi versus Mumbai debate is a much-mined subject among Indian comedians. But Upmanyu’s bit works well because he uses that premise to launch into more universal questions about the obliviousness of rich people to the problems of others. He also displays a fondness for throwing in weird images into the middle of otherwise straightforward bits—here, of himself going around Mumbai kissing uncles.
2. This video, on Indian insults, was the first that Upmanyu uploaded onto his YouTube channel. There’s a slightly nervous energy to his performance, and an occasional awkwardness to his delivery, but his material is so utterly relatable that it quickly made Upmanyu a star.
1. This an extended anecdotal bit about Upmanyu getting caught by his father watching porn. It’s full of ridiculous, but precisely enacted scenes, including a bit where his father walks in on him, and for a few seconds, forgets to be angry. It also features a particularly twisted joke about how Upmanyu’s friend tried to persuade him to stop his father from going to the friend’s house (“Please yaar, ek drop…”).