This is the era of the stand-up comedy act and The Man from Madras Musings has been to several. He likes them by and large. The speakers are young and, therefore, full of energy. And they can be irreverent, which makes it all the better. But, of late, there is a certain monotony that has crept into many of these acts which makes MMM wonder if keeping humour going in the long term can be detrimental to everyone’s health rather in the manner of passive smoking.

Having recently been to a few more of these stand-up comedies, MMM has come to the conclusion that several of them have a few standard features:

Profanity – There is a certain class of audience which probably feels that the more a speaker swears, the funnier it is. If not the audience, the speakers themselves appear to think so and the less an audience laughs, the more the speakers curse, in the hope that they can raise a titter. The point is, why would anyone pay good money to go and hear a few cuss words, all of which can be had for free from autorickshaw drivers on the street? In all probability, the latter have a far richer vocabulary and the flow and punch with which they deliver the terms is more effective.

On Being Overweight – If there are three speakers in a stand-up comedy you can be sure that the man in the middle will be fat. And he will keep making jokes about it. And most of these so called wisecracks on excess poundage have been around from the time of Shakespeare. There was a time when cinema milked the subject dry and, today, the presence of a fat person on screen probably evokes more sympathy than amusement. Why then do these stand-up comics imagine that obesity is going to make an audience laugh?

Shouting – There is a school of thought among these people that they need to yell all the time. MMM quite understands that, most of the speakers being young, they have surplus energy and so it all comes out in the volume at which they speak. But if it is continuously at that level, it makes most people tune out after some time.

MMM would like these talented individuals to ponder over the above points. At the risk of being dismissed as an old windbag, he makes bold to suggest to these performers that there is so much of humour in everyday happenings in Chennai that can be taken on to the stage. And, no, it does not have to be crude, or about being fat or involve shouting from the rooftops.