VDesi Laughs: How Three Dubai Comics are Trying to Change the Comedy Scene
A new comedy collective offers a platform for aspiring and established comics in the region
If you love cracking a joke, if you are always making people laugh and if you have a knack for expressing your opinion on burning issues with a dose of humour, then there is some great news for you. Three Dubai-based comics have come together to form a brand new comedy collective that not just aims to give a platform to aspiring and established comics but also hopes to raise awareness about stand-up comedy and promote talented artistes in the region. VDesi Laughs, started by Amit Asudani, Salman Qureshi and Miqdad Dohadwala, is a wonderful initiative that may be just the panacea for the flagging desi comedy scene in the city which has seen very few stars aside from Nitin Mirani and the three aforementioned comics themselves.
Over the last couple of years, while there has been an explosion of stand up acts by international and famous Indian artistes, local talents have often been struggling to get a platform. “It’s strange,” says Amit, a dentist-turned-comedian. “Dubai has the second largest population of Indians outside India. While the comedy footprint in India is great these days, desi comics in Dubai get very few opportunities. There are hardly any open mics here nor are there regular shows. For a comic, aspiring or otherwise, a venue to practise is the most important thing to hone his or her craft. Otherwise, he find it difficult to offer something new to an audience. That’s why we thought of creating this space for them.”
The concept of VDesi Laughs is simple. There will be four different comedy nights held in a month, every Monday at Headlines Café in Mercure Gold Hotel in Satwa. Firstly, a popular Indian comic will perform at the venue every month and this will be followed by performances by desi local boys and girls. The first such night will be kick started by Delhi-based Jeeveshu Ahluwalia on September 11, 2017. “We will also be bringing some extremely talented comics from India who may not yet be YouTube stars. This will give them a chance to reach out to a wider audience,” adds Amit.
The other ideas include a concept called ‘Bajaa Ghanta’ where any comedian can come up on stage, perform his set and the audience will decide how funny he is. The winner gets a chance to perform at the next international act. Also on the anvil is an Improv night.
All events would be held at Headline Café, which, say the trio, has the potential to be the next Canvas Laugh Club, the famous venue for comedy shows in Mumbai. Amit says any and every one will be given a chance to perform and figure out his or her potential. “Let’s face it, comedy is rather subjective. What may be funny to you may not be funny to me and vice-versa. But our idea is to give a boost to talent in Dubai. We want to let them know that we will stand behind them even if they fail in the first few attempts.”
The men behind the initiative have a clear objective: to help discover the inner comedian in you. Their own diverse backgrounds make the effort even more admirable. Of the three, only Salman is a regular, full-time comic. Miqdad is a digital media brand manager while Amit is a dentist by profession. The passion for comedy brought them together and led them to start VDesi Laughs.
Will this lead to a revival of the Asian comedy scene in the city? Well, at least a beginning has been made!