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Notes From a Fan Diary: 16 Highlights from Comicstaan Season 2

By Mihika Jindal 27 August 2019

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Time flies, doesn’t it? Feels like yesterday when the first season of Comicstaan was at its fag end, and we were flooding Amazon Prime Video’s social feeds demanding a new season. How is it already a year later with a second season of Comicstaan wrapped up too?

Comicstaan 2 felt like a younger brother growing up under the pressures of matching up to its annoyingly popular sibling. With all the episodes done and a joint winner announced, the second season was hotly debated between comedy enthusiasts: was it right to get seasoned comics to participate? Wasn’t Comicstaan supposed to be a discovery platform? Was season 1 funnier? Were the judges being too soft?

While experts and critics fight it out, here are some notes from a fan’s diary; someone who waited with bated breath every Thursday midnight only to spend one hour laughing out loud. Shrill greetings, sugarcoated comments, and dissatisfactory performances aside, here are 16 moments that I’d re-and-re-watch over and over again:

Episode 1 | Observational Comedy | Mentor: Kanan Gill

  1. Rohan Gujral, throughout the show, made it a point to cash in on his Mumbaiya accent. While that can be really annoying for versatility seekers, for me it was a feat because to come back every week with new tricks in the same playing field, is a challenge in itself.

2. Samay Raina, since the very first episode, did things out of the box. His first set went in loops, where he played both the narrator and the character. And throughout the show, even when Raina’s joke didn’t land as well, his technique took over and blew our brains anyway.

3. “India ke dustbin ki lid, dustbin se zyaada gandi hoti hai.” If there’s one set of Shreeja Chaturvedi’s that stuck with me, it was her detailed dissections of dustbins. Now popular for her nervous energy that instead of disrupting supports her act, Chaturvedi is a voice to watch for in the scene right now.

Episode 2 | Anecdotal Comedy | Mentor: Zakir Khan

4. We’ve said this before, we’ll say it again, Zakir Khan’s simple explanation of anecdotal comedy totally won us over. And worded to perfection, I think all of us are now absolutely clear at least about this genre.

5. While all the performances in this episode were heartwarming and palatable, this for me was a great example of Zakir’s mentoring. And that’s why the best part of the episode was the mentoring AV, where we saw the contestant bomb at open mics, at their wits end (literally), and struggling. Tells us a lot about a comic’s life behind the scenes.

Episode 3 | Improv Comedy | Mentor: Kaneez Surka

6. Last season, the improv comedy round was towards the end of the season; after contestants had gone through most of the other genres because improv requires chemistry between contestants and an understanding that can only be achieved after they’ve spent a considerable amount of time together. The fact that in Season 2, they pulled it up as the third round was baffling, an evident sign of risk that the show took.

7. In this time of advanced technology, the fact that the fault buzzer wasn’t an instrument but Surka’s vocal cords, was just funny.

8. Joel Dsouza was the sole star of the Improv round. While his constant cluelessness gave way to some of the best jokes of the night, his perpetual anger kept him going. Be it his angry questions, his confusion about the legal system, or his misconceptions about baby showers, Dsouza was angry… not for an act, not for some time, but throughout the episode.

9. But the entire episode on one side, and this one line by Sumit Sourav on the other: “Sex with me is like shoes. Sirf physical activity nahin, do sole (soul) bhi hote hain.” The last line of the episode that forced Surka to declare “Scene” prematurely because the judges’ panel and the audience went beserk. And honestly, the episode couldn’t have had a better ending.

Episode 4 | Topical Comedy | Mentor: Neeti Palta

10. No particular reason but one line that has (already!) made its way into my daily conversation is Sumit Sourav’s, “WHAT A GUY”, appreciating Vijay Mallya and his antics, which Sourav thinks are not appreciated enough. A great take on Mallya, it was a hilarious set.

11. Aakash Gupta’s theatrics is what usually gets him across the finish line. Well thought out jokes, utilisation of stage, solid confidence and absolutely unexpected sounds and dialogues. From shaking his booty to food tasting, or imagining what the cavemen called Allahabad/Prayagraj, you never see it coming.

Episode 5 | Sketch Comedy| Mentor: Sumukhi Suresh

12. Not every funny person should mandatorily be a great actor, comfortable with costumes, props, and dialogues. But that’s the thing about reality shows: you may be proficient with something, and then they’ll come pushing you far out of your comfort zone to do something you just never thought you’d do. All 10 contestants throughout the sketch comedy round showcased that struggle.

But Sumit Sourav and Rohan Gujral’s sketch, “What a coincidence bro!” a scene about two guys chatting up in a Mumbai local figuring coincidences vs. logic shone so brightly over others, I found myself recommending it to even those unaware about Comicstaan (Yeah! We convert people!)

Episode 6 | Comedy of Terrors | Mentor: Biswa Kalyan Rath

13. Last season, Biswa Kalyan Rath mentored the anecdotal round and shone bright like the diamond in Rihanna’s song. But this season, he got lumped with the comedy of terrors round which was pretty, well, terrifying. A format that doesn’t exist for real, I wonder why the show makers think it necessary for it to be a format. But since we’re talking only about highlights of the season, the fact that I was travelling that week, couldn’t catch this episode and still suffered no FOMO was the best part about it.

Episode 7 | Alternate Comedy | Mentor: Kenny Sebastian

14. The last episode before the finale, comedians had to pull out all their ammo and launch everything at once, for this was the last time to make a difference to the leaderboard which was deciding their fate for the final battle. While those on the fence struggled, the ones at the sheer bottom had the best time. Kenney Sebastian ended up winning the Best Mentor Medal, and I wasn’t surprised because the kind of potential alternate comedy has, the amount of room it offers to play in is huge. And on Season 2, all 10 contestants used it to their best ability.

15. Supriya Joshi as Mrs Pednekar, a classical singer who has mistakenly come on a humourous platform while looking for a singing competition didn’t look as promising initially. But as soon as she started with her lame AF, idiot-proofed jokes sung classically (for real!) with a mini-harmonium left all of us with earworms and in splits.

16. How tough can it be when you accept your defeat upfront? From where I see it, looks damn tough. But Devanshi Shah, who has consistently ranked 10 throughout the season literally had nothing to lose in this penultimate episode, and it showed. Calling out the judges and their sugarcoated comments, overshooting time and literally picking peas on stage, Shah was a riot; a perfect end to her imperfect journey on the show.

Surprisingly, NO ONE came second! And the season ended in a tie, declaring Aakash Gupta and Samay Raina co-winners, something no one expected at all.

All in all, it was a good enough season; nothing terrible, but nothing great either. Then again, that’s the thing with reality shows: the first usually works, for it brings along novelty, the second gets into direct competition. It’s the third season onwards that a show really settles in, with a solid fanbase and one that people wait to watch (and producers wait to encash!).

Back to waiting, I guess!

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