Review: Comedy Kichidi with Jagdish Chaturvedi

12 March 2018

Kichidi is an Indian comfort food made from rice and lentils along with an assorted mix of vegetables and spices adding flavour to an otherwise bland dish. Much like the dish Kichidi, Bangalore native Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi (yes, he’s a doctor) speaks of mundane things about the Indian experience with his own assortment of flavours to these experiences. And did I mention he’s a doctor?

As I admired the quirky décor of The Butterfly Club and made my way down the stairs with my friend, I noticed most of the crowd were non-Indians whereas the show was advertised as comedy for Indians living abroad to “relive your experiences of being in India and laugh at all the little observations”. I was curious as to see how this particular audience would affect Jagdish’s jokes.

In the beginning, he was seemingly taken by surprise at the attendance of several non-Indians and was evidently worried whether his jokes would be relatable (as a lot of his content is usually a mix of Hindi and English). However, once Jagdish started his set and cleverly adjusted his jokes accordingly, my worries of whether the Indian-centred jokes would translate to an international audience faded as members of the audience were down to tears. My African friend sitting beside me was laughing harder than I was at most parts; in hindsight, the glasses of red might have also aided the knee-slapping laughter.

Being born in Bangalore and having lived abroad most of my life, Jagdish’s jokes about the seemingly trivial aspects of the Indian experience really resonated with me. And to my surprise, everyone could relate to bits and pieces of one different cultural experience and translate it onto their own. I mean, who can’t relate to the plague of WhatsApp group chats where there’s always one person sending out morning messages with pictures of religious figures, or the person who blocks out important messages by sending long chain mails about literally nothing. Or even feeling disconnected with the newer generation because you don’t understand the new slang words these kooky kids on your lawn come up with.

Jagdish dryly joked that half of the audience only showed up for free check-ups from an ENT doctor who does comedy on the side, which he claims to have happened. Despite Jagdish’s belief, Comedy Kichidi was truly a testament to comedy’s ability to transcend any cultural barrier and succeeded in bringing a piece of home to everyone who was at that cozy little setting. Just like Kichidi.

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