Friday 24 May 2024

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Culture | Art

Improv Comedy Comes to Goa!


Unscripted! Unexpected! Unbelievable! What a night of laughter and fun!

Last Friday, 11th December night Tamoshi - the quaint restobar with its verdant gardens, away from the cacophony  of the Baga – Calangute stretch - played host to 5 amazing comedians.

No, they did not do solo slapstick comedy which is increasingly becoming the staple fare of ‘laughter and fun’ entertainment at resorts, restaurants and events across the State.

They are a league apart, being one of a handful of collective interactive acts in India doing improvisational – usually referred to as improve - comedy, similar to the internationally popular rated comedy show, Whose line is it anyway?

They had their inaugural Goa show at the garden restaurant, leaving the receptive audience in splits, bringing tears of joy and laughter to their eyes.

Nasir Engineer, Abhishek Desai, Madhu Shukla, Rohit Nair and Benson Chacko are India’s answer to the internationally popular improvisational comedy show, Whose line is it Anyway?.  

They are Jus’ Improv.

Jus’ Improv, is a Bengaluru based troupe of five talented humourists, who perform (as a unit) theatrical improvised comedy, inspired by 27 year old Whose Line Is It Anyway? Comedy Show. 

In their 90 minutes inaugural comedy show in Goa, the five funny entertainers created dialogues, characters, stories, skits, scenes and songs on the spot.

Numerous short scenes were constructed, driven by suggestions by the audiences and sometimes getting a random member of the guests to join them on stage for one of the games.

That night atmosphere was relaxed and laid back. Subtle lighting and positive vibes set the ‘take-it-easy’ mood.

Just before the fivesome went on stage, they moved to a quiet corner of the open air restaurant and did a five minute warm-up. Warm up? Just as football teams do before a match?

Well, similar to that, only that this is a mental warm up of their skills to concoct comedy spontaneously before a live audience.

One exercise was a rhyming verse, with each line being provided by each stooge, in turn. Another involved singing a song, with each performer singing one word at a time, also in turn.

And after a series of verbal exercises, the five huddled together as one team for some positive self talk, to boost their and each others’ performing capabilities.

Roughly this is how show works. Each game has a host, played by one of the five, who sets the terms of the game and gets the audience to dream up ideas for the scene that will be enacted without a prior script.

In one game, the host made the audience the judge, and if any comedian fumbled in their delivery, the audience was given the liberty to disqualify that artist by shouting “Die!”

Another hilarious game involved a time keeping, scene director (the host). He asked the audience suggestions for “The worst place to be on a Monday morning in Goa”. “Mandovi Bridge!” shouted someone.

And it was a comical sight, watching the four comedians enact exactly the same scene four times, the catch being every following enactment had to be done in lesser and lesser time – from 3 minutes to 1 second! It had the entire crowd in riotous laughter.

The two 10-minute breaks, allowed for the guests to sample Tamoshi’s special south coastal delicacies using prawns, chicken, fish and core ingredients of goan cuisine, accompanied by their exotic range of cocktails.

Once Jus’ Improv took the stage again, eating was relegated to second priority, as the stomach muscles went into laughter overdrive with their gut busting antics. The interactive, engaging and side splitting acts made time zoom by and before you knew it, it was over.

Nasir and Rohit - who also love running; they participated in the fifth best marathon in India on 13th December - Goa River Marathon -  are excited about coming back to performing in Goa on a monthly basis.

Already they have a growing number of national engagements, but the highly creative comedians have fallen in love with Goa and would love to connect via their improvisational comedy shows.

As one learned friend told me, “Comedy acts are like jazz…they are best when they are improvised.” I asked him, “Whose line is it, anyway?”

(The writer is a freelance journalist and an event manager. He can be contacted at this email or 9890950964) is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

Total Comments :1

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Its good that Comedy is making inroads into 'Sussegad' GOA.

Wish I could see Jus’ Improv perform on the 11th of Dec.

The last time I laughed my guts out was when we watched the brilliantly scripted home grown standup musical comedy show "Twisted Testicles" performed by the ex Radio Indigo duo Mark Rocha & Jeffery Emanual !

The above article by Lester Fernandes is also very humourously & well written.

Ricardo Rebelo , Candolim