“Being an Indian is a pain… Being a South Indian is a bigger pain!!” …
Four glib-tongued, smooth-talking performers, a little less than 1.5 hours, an audience that willingly lapped up all the one-liners, remarks, and well-meaning insults with nothing but laughter…
This was “So Sorry about Little India!!” … Evam’s standup-comedy act …
When Divya offered me a pass to the show, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I have to be honest here. I have only watched standup comedy on YouTube before this and that was Russell Peters and Vir Das. I will admit that I was a little nervous and so took a seat right at the back, poised with a pen and notebook, ready to jot down points for I was to do a review of the show.
You see that first point up there about being Indian… Well, that’s the only one I noted down! I didn’t have time to note down the rest of it for I was clutching my sides, laughing out loud, something that I don’t do alone ‘coz I am weird like that. 😛
Evam was brilliant and brilliant would be a mighty understatement… check out the range of topics that were covered…
From South Indian surnames to public display of affection to the Kama sutra to the behavioural tendencies of Indians to dissecting the different types of girls that a guy meets on a date, feminism, astrology, they covered it all… and if you are Indian or even better, if you are a South Indian, you will totally totally get it! 🙂
And if the show was the cake, guess what the icing on the cake was…
You see this guy? Yep! That’s the one!
That ladies and gentlemen is ‘Evam Karthik’ as he is popularly known, and I interviewed him after this show! 😀 😀
Yes you can see my Cheshire cat grin… 😀 😀
Go on… Read on … while I still keep grinning… 🙂 🙂
A 20 minute chat and here are some interesting snippets from the conversation …
Me: Why such a short show today? You got an awesome response today and it was a really entertaining show.
KK: 75 minutes is what we promised. It’s always best to quit when the audience wants more. In standup comedy it’s always best to quit when you are ahead.
Me: What do you do for sponsorships? How do you run your shows here, apart from the ticket sales?
KK: We are completely self-funded. We haven’t been sponsored by anybody for this tour. If you realize, sponsorship is not a sustainable model. You can get sponsors once and twice and it’s not something that a professional group like Evam relies upon unless we have a very big project. A project if it’s small should be self-sustainable.
Me: Isn’t that risky?
KK: It is. It definitely is. But then any business is and we see ART as a business. It should be a business. Lot of people do art as a passion or a hobby, but they don’t continue to keep doing it prolifically. We do shows in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Coimbatore, almost every other week even in unconventional places where we get paid nothing at all, but it’s only to keep the wheels lubricated.
Me: It’s very hard to make people laugh and judging by the audience reactions; you had a terrific response here. Tell me a bit about the shows here.
KK: We are doing four shows here at 900 capacity and we are currently filling at about 80% of that. For a debut tour that’s not bad at all considering that this tour will nett us a 15%-20% profit. Usually in a debut tour you lose money. So we will be going back home happy.
Me: Evam basically encompasses the entire art gamut right from management to education to entertainment. Isn’t that so?
KK: Yes. We are basically an arts entrepreneurship. And most of our growth has come organically. We started out as dreamers and we wanted to make a living out of the arts. We are a 12 member company with offices in Chennai and Bangalore. We have started a legitimate Singapore office so that we can do business here every three months, and we hope to have our first permanent employee in about 12 months.
Me: Great. How do you guys scout for new talent? Do you get talent coming to you, or do you do auditions and such?
KK: Well as far as creative talent goes, we work on a project-to-project basis. We have a repertoire of 7 stand-ups right now and we constantly source new stand-ups who we taken in and train to become stand-up comedy artistes. Most artistes are contracted with us for a certain period of time. Once the contract finishes they are free to look out and carve a niche for them as well. Mostly it’s a yearly contract. As far as India is concerned, Stand-up comedy is still in a nascent stage and it’s new. It’s irreverent, brash and there are no taboos.
Me: How about your content for the show? Does that depend on audience reactions or is it impromptu?
KK: About 40% of the show everyday changes because of the audience. This is my weapon and armoury and it depends on me what I am going to pull out based on the way the audience reacts. 30% of today’s show was also impromptu.
Me: So when are you coming here next?
KK: The next activity we are bringing down is our two-week children’s summer camp in June which is a lot of art-based workshops for children – Indian story-telling, puppetry, theatre, music, dance etc. thereafter we are likely to follow that up with two stand up shows one of Evam’s and one of touring UK artists sometime in Sept-Oct. (more details on that to follow!!)
Related article: 'So Sorry about Little India' – Evam's coming to Singapore!!