Honestly, I was convinced that the much-awaited Shashi Tharoor episode of the new comedian-meets-celebrity show One Mic Stand was either going to be the world’s biggest disappointment or the freshest thing of the century - but weirdly enough, it wasn’t at any of those extremes. Perhaps that is not the worst thing.
The show starts off with Kunal Kamra and Sapan Verma pepping up Dr. Shashi Tharoor for his debut into the world of stand-up comedy. The coy smile on his face as his “mentor” Kunal attempts to look relaxed in his presence is an all-too-relatable setting for someone who is a self-proclaimed Shashi fangirl. But I’m going to write this unbiased review henceforth, promise.
The show then moves on to Kunal’s stand-up. Kunal pulls a Kunal as he breaks into jokes about Arnab Goswami. Kunal’s performance and punch-lines emerge brave and make you swing like a pendulum between fits of giggles to strange discomfort at the realization of the absurdity of it being real.
Kunal’s jokes are as funny as they are dark; his tone is almost rebellious in nature.
At one point I found myself murmuring a soft prayer for any bhakt audience-members. That would be one miserable spot to be in.
Dr. Tharoor is filmed watching this set, replete with Delhi-gaalis, and you can’t help but think - Man, what a cool guy. He then confidently walks onto the stage, facing an audience that has been told at least twelve “he has had only had 24 hours to prepare” apologies, and at this point you just kind of know he’s going to bomb. Surprise - he doesn’t. Maybe that was a quick trick - make the audience set their standards really low and everything he says will seem funny. Maybe. Maybe not. Guess we’ll never know.
He then confidently starts talking about everything from the colonizer-bashing to his rich vocabulary - the two things he is perhaps best known for.
Dr.Tharoor plays it safe, a true diplomat. This isn’t to say the jokes don’t deliver, though. I found myself amazed at the sight of him cracking jokes about millennial lingo.
Perhaps his best is about UN, where he says he worked there for long enough to have seen UNESCO declare the Indian national anthem the best one. Classic.
While watching Shashi Tharoor do his set was an absolute delight, one must admit the set did somewhere through the mid-way transition into a funny, relatable speech. But you wouldn’t find yourself complaining. Most of all, now we know he’s a Cumberbitch too. That’s more relevant information than any show has given us in years.