The Comedy Central Chuckle Fest: Sweet experience that could have been sweeter


The second edition of the Comedy Central Chuckle Festival was able to generate a tremendous amount of buzz from the moment it was announced. After all it was the first ever performance of the satirical British comedian, Russel Brand, in India.

While reaching the Talkatora Stadium on June 26 ’15 one could easily anticipate the amount of hard work put in by the organizers of the event. Clearly displayed sign boards at equal distances and well mapped out security ensured that the problems of traffic were taken care of. The entry into the auditorium was easy but like most events, not even a bottle of water was permissible inside the auditorium. Clearly the organizers have not experienced the horrifying heat in Delhi the way we have, Anyhow.

As I entered it was surprising to notice that not even half of the total seats of the venue were occupied and the results of an inadequate marketing campaign were widely evident. We did see some outdoor advertising in the city and Comedy Central had been announcing the event for a while, but clearly that wasn’t enough given the turn out at the event.

The event did not start on time (Namaste India!) and the audience faced a collective dilemma whether should they move out for some food or stay and patiently wait for their moment to Chuckle.The curtainsrose at 8 PM as the insanely funny Sanjay Manaktala welcomed the audience.

Sanjay was effortlessly charming with his puns on his own accent and his corny yet hilarious representation of an Indian woman while taking seflies pulled the crowd together. And so just 5 minutes into the beginning of the fest the audience could already be seen chuckling. Second in line was Jeeveshu Ahluwalia who was absolutely riveting with his unabashed and unapologetic depiction of the problems of a fat man dealing with ordinary struggles of life. NeetiPaltawas OK!Her performance at the most was average as the audience struggled to find reasons to laugh.

The biggest surprise came when Sanjay Manaktala announced the absence of Papa CJ from the show. With Papa CJ being prominently advertised to perform at the event,I too like most fans present in the auditorium felt somewhat cheated. Though organizers claimed the reason for the last hour cancellation wasa result of him missing his flight, inside sources reveal that Papa CJ was very well present in Delhi on the day. His absence was because he never signed the contract with Chuckle Fest to begin with. The source quotes, “Though negotiations were ongoing, a final deal was never struck. Live Viacom18 sent Papa CJ an amended contract at 6PM while the show was about to begin at 7.30 on the same night.” Interestingly, validating this point is the fact that Papa CJ who is quite active on social media never really posted anything about being a part of the Chuckle Festival. So was this event an effort to capitalize on his popularity? Oh well.

The disappointed audience was comforted almost instantly as Russell Brand took to the stage. The 40-year-old performer truly lived up to his name from the moment he stepped on the stage and had the audiences hooked onto his one-liners and strong witticismsright from the get go.

His signature British accent, crude cockney slang and the part where he involved the audience through phone conversations made the audience stand up from their chairs and applaud him. Needless to say Brand was at the top of his game here and delivered a great performance to his fans in Delhi. Big smiles exiting the auditorium were evidence of an audience having received its money’s worth.

Though it may have grappleda bitin terms of execution but the second edition of the Comedy Central Chuckle Festival 2015 indeed managed to make the audience Chuckle as promised. Yes a lot of things from dirty toilets to Papa CJ-gone-missing irked me, but it is the overall enjoyment quotient that actually matters for an event at the end and,as far as the deliverables of the main content is concerned,the Chuckle Festival was absolutely bang on.

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