2014 Gig Fifteen: Mumbai

Rumbling tummies in India are enough to give anyone pause. I wasn't feeling terrible yesterday but the stomach was gurgling and bubbling and saying things I didn't really understand.  When you hear these foreign noises coming from inside it is time to knock back the tablets you have with you and prepare for the potential onslaught.  I was also dog tired yesterday.  I've been getting no more than four hours sleep a night and it turns out I might need just a little more than that.  It is difficult to balance the work that needs to be sorted here in India and keep an eye on what needs to be sorted at home.  It really doesn't leave much time to unwind and relax.

Having said all that I am in a foreign country plying my trade so that is a win.  I've just had to maintain a vigilance to make certain I don't run myself down and end up being physically behind the eight ball especially leading into two festivals back to back. Feeling this way didn't stop me from having a walk around Mumbai yesterday and with Kate McLennan and Stu Symes in tow we had a great private journey around the backstreets you wouldn't normally get the chance to visit.  Check out these photos:

 

Raw Comedy India

 

 

Raw Comedy India

 

 

Kate and I aren't certain who this dude is but we love him.

 

We had our second heat of Raw Comedy and also our second workshop.  I'm loving talking to the Indian comedians about their work and I'm finding I'm learning a lot too. It is fascinating to discover who their favourite acts are.  There has been some talk about Louis C.K. and Bill Burr.  A couple have really enjoyed Eddie Izzard (Cake or Death and Deathstar Canteen were particular favourites) but the person who has been mentioned a few times is Mitch Hedberg.  I don't know why that has taken me by surprise but I have found it delightful to be talking about his work.  Oh yes, don't leave out Seinfeld either. Some big fans here.

Kate and I have also been sharing with the acts how we have promoted ourselves and created our careers in Australia.  I've been friends with Kate since we shared a room way back in 2001 at the Melbourne Fringe when she was a sketch comedian and I was a dude living in Adelaide.  One of the highlights of this trip has been getting to know Kate more and realising we have quite a bit in common with how we have approached our careers. Getting to know your friends better is one of the highlights of touring with a fellow comedian. You can never underestimate what you will learn by working with someone and those nice moments at the end of the day when you're sharing a drink.

It was an excellent Raw Comedy heat.  We had double the acts and I have loved watching all of them.  Everyone is so professional and I get a kick out of watching who the performance and attempting to work out who they were influenced by.  I'm not being patronising about this either.  This is how we all start out.  I was definitely a manic sum of influences when I began:  Robin Williams, Paul McDermott and Woody Allen  were the first touchstones for me.  I started off in a duo so it was also Tony Martin and Mick Molloy crossed with some Groucho Marx in tandem with Chico.  (I was definitely Groucho and my comedy partner Damien was Chico...likewise I was Tony and he was Mick.  Sometimes I was more Rob Sitch in Shitscared and he was Mick. Either way he was always Mick.)

 

Kate and I hosted together and this is the material I used for my set:

 

Local Observations

Hen's Night

Performing in Afghanistan

“I Don’t Give A Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversations

Tripping and Farting

 

There was a little more banter in the show last night and a little less material.  I'm figuring this will happen more as Kate and I have another three gigs to go. With more and more experiences taking place we are undoubtedly going to have more to play with the audience.  Last night had a little more interaction too and it was a lot of fun. I'm finding the gigs to be so much fun that I actually feel a little lighter and giddy with joy.  I know Kate is feeling the same way.  I particularly enjoyed Kate loving an act so much that when she remembered to go back onstage she had forgotten to find out what his name was. Very cute and funny.

 

Here are Kate and I with the winners Akshay Shinde and Abish Matthew.

 

Akshay Shinde and Abish Matthew will accompany us in the Raw Comedy Final in New Delhi on Sunday and I'm looking forward to hanging out with them again.  There were so many excellent acts from Abbas Momin, Aditya Desai and Kunal Rao...heck, just about everybody was excellent.  Hopefully if I have an opportunity to return in ten years time they'll be talked about as the legends of Indian comedy.  The beginning of a career is the most exciting time and it is infectious to be around.  Now lets hope that this rumbling tummy passes by and everything will once again be right in the world.

 

Justin Hamilton

19th of February, 2014

Mumbai