Friday was a long day of travel. We left the hotel at 8.30am in Bangalore and arrived at our hotel in New Delhi at 4.15pm. Luckily I had overcome the rumbling tummy business from the previous day and was fine to travel. Big thanks to all the prescription drugs the Travel Doctor insisted we take and good on me for taking all of them. All of them! They certainly did the job and I am proud to say that not only am I back on track but I have also dropped 2 kgs on this trip. Lookout for svelte Hammo when he returns. Our hotel is outrageous and has ruined me for all further hotels. We all had personal ladies take us to our room to check us in and make certain we were settled. I've had people knocking on my door to offer me drinks, to fluff my bedsheets (that is not a euphemism by the way) and even had one man ask if I need my shoes buffed. I plan on being furious forever after this when I stay at a hotel that "only" offers a collection of biscuits in the cupboard. I even found this on my pillow when I returned later that night:
Our first night in New Delhi was spent at the Australian High Commission meeting people, having a drink and singing Karaoke. I managed to belt out a fairly convincing (in my mind...and you all know how unreliable my mind is) version of Bowie's "Let's Dance" while Kate McLennan realised very early that Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" is possibly the hardest song to cover in the history of karaoke songs. I jumped in to lend her hand and now have permanent asthma. Singing this song also coincided with my best sleep of the tour so I now know how I can cure any future insomnia. One attempt at this song and I'll be sleeping like a baby that can't high notes.
Saturday night we had Raw Comedy heat in New Delhi and the standard was amazing. Kate and I arrived early to look about the room and then hosted a workshop with about 15 Indian comedians. After that we had about 45 minutes to grab a bite to eat and then it was time for the show. This is the material I performed for the night:
“I Don’t Give A Hoot!”
Hushed Angry Conversations
Little Boy At Wedding
Too Stoned And I Ate Kevin
Once again there is more and more ad libbing taking place throughout the show. I am feeling very comfortable here and the gig in New Delhi was my favourite so far. There were a few contributing factors. There were more women in the audience last night so that gives the room a nice balance. They were the most attentive audience too. I could build off that back of an act and throw some jokes out there and the crowd would applaud. As an example one comedian suggested that Australia and New Zealand are being gay together. When I pointed out that we were not only gay but we were definitely not receiving there were cheers from the crowd. This of course loses in the translation of writing a blog (ya had to be there kids) but they were just so appreciative when Kate and I built off the back of someone's routine.
The standard was sky high and it was difficult to pick a winner. We were meant to put through two from the final but we ended up squeezing in four because they were so funny. The winners were Rohan Desai (who reminded me of a cross between comedians Rob Hunter and Luelin from "Lessons With Luis"), Rajneesh Kapoor (the slickest comedian I've seen here so far), Vasu Primlani (she was very funny, very dry sense of humour) and Utsav Chuckra-Varty (a young comedian with a funny quantum theory joke). There were some extra comedians that were so close for me especially Vikram Jeetsing who was very funny.
I've had such a great time hosting these shows. They're long nights due to the fact that Kate and I host the workshop, host the show, judge the show and then close up the night but the acts have been so funny and delightful that you are almost disappointed when it all comes to an end. We have the final tonight and I have a suspicion it will come down to one of three acts...but depending on how it goes it honestly could be any of the acts. I'll let you know in the next blog whether my suspicions were correct.
So much to do today. We have final interviews, an ABC filmed piece, final workshop and of course the final for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival's Raw Comedy heat to get through. Then it is one final day of sightseeing before flying home. I feel like I've been here forever yet it has gone too quickly. Usually the sign of an excellent time.
23rd of February, 2014
New Delhi, India