Does a deft stand-up comic really need anything more than a spotlight and a mic when making people cry with the LOLs? That Comedy Club says no, sticking to their simple pink and white neon signage over a brick wall. It’s in its third incarnation. It’s still the only dedicated stand up comedy venue in the city.
Moving from a stark spot at Maharaja Signal,where you made do with 99 varieties of dosas from the cart across the street when the attached restaurant didn’t suffice, That Comedy Club is now safely nestled off of Jyoti Nivas College Road, in the very heart of Koramangala. There’s no visible signage just yet, which means you might meander for a bit. However, resist the many temptations along the way: the new edition has just opened its doors above Sherlock’s Pub.
Even the rustic picnic benches from the former location have been done away with, but That Comedy Club is making up for the lack of a dedicated restaurant space with a crackling line-up of acts this month. Besides, Sherlock’s Pub kindly offers to send up whatever strikes your fancy on their menu if you place your order before the night’s act comes on. (You’re sorted for drinks, but pro-tip: save your appetite for the momos from Peace Restaurant, located just down the road.)
The starkness of That Comedy Club ensures there are no distractions from the performance, allowing the audience to sink into the mood created by the comic. Despite being able to seat about 250 people, even a small gathering feels intimate, creating that sense of camaraderie so vital to having a successful set.
Even when the comic is dying on stage - as they were the night we stopped by - having a room that enables crowd work, while still allowing the comic to retain control, makes the difference between a redeemable set and one that drives you to finally give up and take that desk job at Infosys. Connecting with the audience is not just vital to saving face on stage, but also to accurately gauging responses to new material. This is especially useful with the spate of trial shows every comic seems to be putting out at the moment.
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Most importantly, That Comedy Club already has an open mic scheduled for every Tuesday and Wednesday for the rest of February. In a city with arguably the country’s best comic talent, it means that access to open mics is no longer dependant on the whims and fancies of the restaurant or bar owner they have convinced to push aside a table or two to create some space. Plus, their audience isn’t just startled diners blindsided by a guy with a mic desperately enquiring, “Did you guys come here for the comedy?”: a nice change of pace.
Before you rush to sign up for a spot, a word of caution: the room, while inviting, isn’t easily accessible. There are two flights of stairs to be navigated to reach the performance space, and no elevator. And while the sound system seems top-class and calibrated to suit spoken word, an overly enthusiastic air-system often derails its efforts. If you do make your way here for a night of amusement, however, post-comedy dining options are aplenty. Whether you want to drown your sorrows born from a bad set or indulge in a carb-fest to celebrate an evening well spent, JNC road and its many attractions are merely steps away. It looks like tickets for this month’s shows are moving fast, so comedy aficionados are advised to snatch up theirs sooner rather than later.
While this new avatar is being touted as the permanent location for That Comedy Club, if it does have to pack its bags once again, this writer hopes they hold onto the Jet classic “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” to herald a comic’s entrance onto stage. It has started to guarantee Pavlovian fits of giggles in anticipation. A fortunate beginning to hopefully comical ends.
Getting there: That Comedy Club, second floor, Sherlock’s Pub, Koramangala.
Sushmita Sundaramenjoys writing about funny people and odd things. Follow her on Twitter at @sushmitas.
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