Sabareesh Narayanan’s WhatsApp standing states ‘the present should go on’. Affirming that “a virus cannot silence laughter”, the stand-up comic from Kochi is all set to tickle ribs together with his upcoming present, God’s Own Country, which premieres via the video-conferencing platform Zoom on June 28.
“As the title alludes, God’s Own Country is chiefly about gods and the countrymen. It aims to take a satiric look at god as an idea and I want to explore themes such as faith, superstition, atheism, godmen and so on to see how we Malayalis approach religion. I have noticed that many who claim to be hardcore atheists clandestinely visit places of worship. The show also ‘zooms’ in on certain hypocrisies prevalent among the people of Kerala and some general observations about the State,” says Sabareesh, who’s a part of the Kochi-based collective Comedy Lounge spearheaded by stand-up artist Vinay Menon.
The 23-year-old says creating such a present, in English, was “part of my New year resolution” this 12 months. “I wanted to analyse if Kerala really is a God’s Own Country as many label it to be. I realised there are three types of gods – the man-made, the self-proclaimed and the i-don’t-understand-science-lets-blame-it-on-the-invisible, which is one of my punchlines,” he says with a chuckle.
Sabareesh says internet hosting a stand-up act on-line, on this case via Zoom, has its execs and cons. “Well, for one, the show must go on and given the COVID-19 situation, this is an advantage. Then, unlike the stage, one can improvise more as the audience can’t perceive the full body language. The artist can also keep cues to fall back on if needed and still the show remains uninterrupted for the viewer. Another upside is that anyone from anywhere in the world can be part of it,” he explains.
However, such an association for such a medium of leisure shouldn’t be with out shortcomings. “It’s not really interactive in the way you would like it to be for a stand-up performance. Often, the reaction of the audience propels a show forward and a stand-up artist can also tweak his punchlines depending on the immediate response,” says Sabareesh, including that the net platform misses the “warmth of face-to-face connect.”
‘God’s Own Country’ premières at 7 pm on June 28 via Zoom. Ticket particulars might be put up on Sabareesh’s Instagram web page @standupsabari