You need light moments in this stressful world. There is nothing better than sitting in front of the TV to watch the latest comedy shows. You can forget your worries for some time as you get to soak in the humor. ‘Stand Up Comedy’ is an art and a very skillful one at that as well. It is very easy to make people cry but very difficult to make them laugh. A Stand Up comedian should have the ability to laugh at his own self. We present the list of the Top 10 Indian Stand Up Comedians as on date.
10. VIP – Vijay Ishwarlal Pawar
One of the favorite comedy skits includes the mimicking of Hindi film stars. Mimicry is a tough art. Vijay Pawar, also known as VIP, is an expert at mimicking the voices and mannerisms of the Hindi film stars. The Comedy Circus on Sony TV has provided the best platform to these budding comedians to perform on the national stage. In the very first edition, VIP partnered with Swapnil Joshi to regale the audiences. They were the finalists in that season. They lost to the pair of Ali Asgar and Kashif Khan in the finals. However, they made amends in the second season by romping home in the final. VIP has the talent to mimic more than 150 Hindi film stars. He has acted in one Hindi film, Bol Bachchan in 2012. However, the world knows him as a comedian first. He is a worthy entrant in this list at No 10.
09. Ahsaan Qureshi
The dialogue delivery is a very important part of any Stand Up Comedy show. You should be able to engage the attention of the audience for the entire period of your performance. Every word you speak has a deep meaning. Ahsaan Qureshi is a master at the art of delivering the dialogues in a special way. This makes him stand at No 9 in this illustrious list. He has this beautiful diction, the Shayarana Style that can mesmerize the audience. He was the runner-up in the first version of ‘The Great Indian laughter Challenge’. Political satire and social issues are his forte. He has acted in a parody of the film, Bombay to Goa, a hilarious comedy.
08. Sunil Pal
At No 8, you have the diminutive Sunil Pal. He had the most humble of beginnings in life. He worked at a tea stall in Santacruz, a suburb in Mumbai, serving tea to customers. He has a unique style of dialogue delivery. He is a master of the deadpan comedy style. He participated in the inaugural version of the Great Indian Laughter Challenge. He went on to win the tournament beating illustrious comedians such as Raju Shrivastav and Ahsaan Qureshi. His depiction of the fictitious drunkard, ‘Ratan Noora’ still resides in the heart of Indian TV audiences. He has acted in a couple of films as well.
07. Krishna Abhishek
You have Krishna Abhishek at No 7 in this list. The nephew of the famous Hindi actor, Govinda, Krishna is a good dancer as well. He has acted in a couple of films, the most notable of them being ‘Entertainment’ where he played the comedian sidekick to Akshay Kumar. He formed a beautiful pair with Sudesh Lehri. He played an important role in the TV comedy series, Comedy Circus with Sudesh. Today, he is busy with the Comedy Circus Bachao along with Bharti Singh. A good dancer, he formed a successful pair with Kashmira Shah in the dance series, Jhalak Dikhlaja. He later on married her as well.
06. Ali Asgar
People who have watched the Comedy Nights with Kapil Sharma will never forget the quintessential ‘Dadi’ played by Ali Asgar. Depicting the role of Kapil Sharma’s grandmother in the series, Ali has taken comedy to new heights. He has the uncanny knack of mimicking the mannerisms of each guest on the show. An excellent dancer, he never fails to exhibit his dancing skills in the shows. A child artiste in his younger days, he had teamed up with Kashif Khan to win the inaugural edition of the Comedy Circus. Very few comedians can match his exuberance at the age of 50 years. He is a worthy addition to this list at No 5.
05. Bharti Singh
If men can do it, women can do it as well. Bharti Singh, at No 5 is the only female comedian in this list. In fact, she can be better than many of her male counterparts. She has an excellent sense of humor. People know her better as her self-created character Lalli. She forms an excellent foil to Krishna Abhishek in the Comedy Circus Bachao series. She has mastered the art of ‘below the belt comedy’ with Krishna and has got under the skin of a couple of guest stars in the program such as Ravi Kishen and John Abraham. Among all the comedians in this list, she stands tall because of the ability to have a hearty laugh at herself. This is her biggest trait.
04. Johnny Lever
The list of Stand Up Comedians would be incomplete without the inclusion of the ‘King of Them All’, Johnny Lever. The credit of pioneering the Stand Up comedy revolution in India goes to Johnny Lever. Originally born as John Rao, he used to work for Hindustan Lever during his younger days before switching over to doing comedy shows. Hence, this name, Johnny Lever has stuck to him. Having acted in more than 300 films, Johnny has a successful film career as well. He is famous for making fantastic facial contortions to suit the occasion. As on date, no one in India can match up to him in regaling the audience. He has been the source of inspiration to every aspiring comedian in India. The fact that he does not do much Stand Up Comedy shows today made us include him at No 4 in the list.
03. Sunil Grover
The Kapil Sharma’s Comedy Nights would be incomplete without a performance from ‘Guthi’. Masquerading as a female, Sunil Grover is an excellent comedian in his own right. He is a master of the silent comedy as well, having acted in India’s first silent comedy show, ‘Gutur Gu’ on SAB TV. Recently, he has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, the worst being the spat with Kapil Sharma on the sets of their Comedy Nights Show. This made him quit the show for a brief time. He is an extremely popular comedian, worthy of the No 3 spot on this list of the Top 10 Stand Up Comedians in India today.
02. Raju Shrivastav
Once considered the master of mimicry, Raju Shrivastav, is an excellent actor as well. He rose to fame mimicking India’s greatest actor, Amitabh Bachchan. Possessing an excellent sense of humor to go along with his mimicry skills, he has acted in many Hindi films, the latest being the comedy spoof, Bombay to Goa. This film had Ahsaan Qureshi, Sunil Pal, Vijay Raaz, etc as fellow comedians. Many people expected him to win the Great Indian laughter Challenge hands down. However, Sunil Pal with his rendition of the drunken character, Ratan Noora managed to steal the show at the last minute. Raju Shrivastav’s self-created character, Gajodhar is extremely famous on social media.
01. Kapil Sharma
As of today, there is no comedian more popular in India than Kapil Sharma. He was the host of the extremely popular, Comedy Nights with Kapil. Today, he hosts the same program with a different name, The Kapil Sharma Show. He has many good comedians to assist him such as Ali Asgar in the role of Dadi, and Sunil Grover in the role of Guthi. He has Navjot Singh Sidhu to assist him as well. Kapil Sharma is the highest paid Stand Up Comedian in India today with rumors of him charging Rs 40 lacs per show of the Comedy Nights With Kapil. He deserves the No 1 position today.
There is no yardstick to measure the popularity of the Stand Up comedians. There could be many more such as Sudesh Lehri, Vir Das, etc. This list has the names of Indian comedians alone. Otherwise, the Pakistani satirist, Shakeel would have found top billing. The popularity of the Stand Up comedians shows that people love to have a laugh at the expense of others. However, the true test of a comedian lies in his or her ability to laugh at the self.