I think there were two things we could rely on with this trip. I'd be the first to be scammed and at some point I would fall sick. I managed to get the first part of that sorted on the first day in Mumbai and now have ticked off the second part as well. The rumbling tummy that has haunted me for the past few days had me thinking more about Elton John lyrics than any real fear but this morning I woke and thought, "This is the day I've been dreading." That was the literal sentence that formed in my brain. When I'm ill I think in captions that appear to have been written by comic book writers from the late 60's. Luckily before we left Australia the Travel Doctor had given me a little package full of all sorts of drugs that can not only be carried on a plane but also means I wouldn't have to worry about Channel 7 knocking down my door for an interview. I have been popping pills like I'm spending time with Elvis as he geared up for his "This Jumpsuit Is Too Tight" comeback special. I have moments where I think I have beaten this bug only to be reminded the bug has paid a bond and will leave when it wants to. The positive to all this is that not only will I lose weight but at least it means I won't have to worry about being sick later in the tour.
We arrived in Bangalore last night and found a place that was heartily recommended as a great place to eat. One ride on an auto rickshaw later and any thoughts I had of being tired were quickly jettisoned as we motored all over the road and at times into oncoming traffic. I am completely hooked on this mode of transport and if I ran Australia I would introduce these little beauties into every city. Here's a photo I took leaning out into traffic. It doesn't quite convey the joy I was feeling but I was overwhelmed by the fact that we had actually stopped at traffic lights. What a shock!
I meal later and it was back to the hotel where I managed to knock off a good seven hours of sleep. This was my biggest chunk yet and I am hoping that I'll be locked into the Indian timezone just in time to catch my flight back to Australia next week. Kate and I had interviews and photos all morning and I was grateful my bug decided not to kick in until this was all done. As far as upset stomachs go this one has the best manners. I'd even think about taking it home to meet Mum except I don't think she'd be overly rapt.
After a bit of rest it was time to be a man and get ready for the gig. Well, a man that has had the good fortune of having the Melbourne International Comedy Festival send him to the other side of the world to tell jokes into a magic stick that makes noise. So not much of a man but more a dude who knows how to be professional. All it would take is a visit from one Doctor Showbiz and this idiot would be back on his feet before you could say, "Geez, you look pale."
Kate and I arrived at 6.30pm to do a sound check and get a handle on the room. We were back inside for this one in front of a mural that depicted a scene from what appeared to be cartoon characters you would expect to find in a copy of the New Yorker Magazine. Totally incongruous with our surroundings and that made it perfect. We took the contestants upstairs and held our workshop that was very different to Mumbai. There is a real sense of community with the comedians in Bangalore and you could tell that they work together as everyone was quite unique. There was very little doubling up on topics and no cross over in actual jokes. It was a very strong night from act one.
Here's my set list:
“I Don’t Give A Hoot!”
Hushed Angry Conversations
Little Boy Joke
There was even more ad libbing tonight and the further we travel into India the more local material presents itself. I'm hoping my routine about being scammed may be able to travel when I return to Australia as it has been fun to perform over here. Doctor Showbiz did indeed make a visit and I was feeling almost good by the time I hit the stage. In fact I feel almost back on track even as I write this at midnight. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow with an early start and a longer flight so I'm hoping I can catch some shut eye on the plane.
As I stated above the standard was excellent and I enjoyed every act. There were some really clever jokes and some wonderful act outs. If I was put in a "Sophie's Choice" situation (and wouldn't that movie have been different if she only had to choose the winner of a Raw Comedy Heat) and had to pick my favourite acts I would say Vishal and Naveen Richard were the stand outs along with the eventual winner Vamsi. Vishal had the unenviable job of being on first so that shows you how strong he was that by the end of the night he was still one of my top acts. Naveen was incredibly endearing and even had some material about Australian Masterchef. I felt a sudden urge to apologise to India for sending that show to them but suppressed that urge in case they found it a bit ace.
Winner Vamsi was a little ahead of everyone though because his routine was the most sophisticated I had seen so far. There were excellent act outs, strong delivery and a great use of callbacks. In five minutes he'd drawn Kate, Michelle Wild and I in and delivered right up until his final joke. A really worthy winner on the night especially considering he was amongst a very strong field.
Ok. I'm tired. Been a long day and I'm more drugs and dry food than man at this point. I'm looking forward to the last heat and final in Delhi especially since after that it is time to return to Australia to prepare for the grind of the festivals. I think we're in for a ripper final though and can't wait to see who ends up coming to Australia in April for the national Raw Comedy Final.
21st of February, 2014