In the pink and orange tinted sets of &TV’s reality show Comedy Dangal, stand-up comic Bharti Singh is mimicking the voice of a five-year-old boy. She is cracking up the audience, spontaneously breaking into different jokes with every new take. True to the show’s title, she certainly does give the other performers a good wrestling match. But this time, the popular comedian’s act ends with the skit, since she is also one of two team leaders and a judge on the weekend show.
In Comedy Dangal, television actors and stand-up comedians battle against each other. Singh’s team comprises other stand-up comedians, while actors who stage comedy skits are part of music composer Anu Malik’s team.
“The experience has been very different yet exciting,” Bharti Singh, clad in a boy’s attire, told Scroll.in in between rehearsals. “Since I started comedy, I have always been used to taking points and comments from judges and audience. But today I am judging and giving comments for other people’s work. This is one level up in my career because no other comedian has become a judge in this kind of a show.”
The show was premiered on August 12. The contestants include comedians Balraj Syal, Amit Tandon, Abhijit Ganguly and actors Anita Hasnandani, Rajesh Kumar and Surbhi Jyoti.
Singh rose to fame with her acclaimed Lalli act in The Great Indian Laughter Challenge (2008), for which she was also a runner-up. Since then, the actor and comedian has been starring in numerous shows, including Comedy Circus (2009), Comedy Classes (2014), Comedy Nights Bachao (2015) and The Kapil Sharma Show.
Comedy wasn’t Singh’s first passion. She has a national ranking in pistol shooting and archery. “In my rifle shooting class, every other student was very quiet-natured and reserved,” she said. “But I was the only loud-mouth who kept joking around. So from one shooting, I came to making another shooting my profession. But rifle shooting is still something that is very close to my heart.”
Comedy Dangal is only the latest show to join the league of reality comedies, which is dominated by The Kapil Sharma Show and Krushna Abhishek’s The Drama Company. At a time when reality comedy seems to have hit a creative slump, how will Comedy Dangal fare?
As every other such show on television, Comedy Dangal too features celebrity guests in its episodes. But Singh insisted that the show will stand apart. “In Kapil Sharma’s show, you have celebrities who give interviews and in The Drama Company, people perform skits,” she explained. “In this show, you will see stand up as well as skits, two varied forms of comedies. It is never monotonous.”
Singh does not see the other shows as competition. “Every show and comedian have their own fan following,” Singh said. “I never see any other person as my competitor. I just want to keep performing good comedy. If I keep thinking about the competition, I would be left back in the race. Also in a stressful life such as ours, just one channel’s comedy show is not enough. I strongly feel that every other channel should have a comedy show.”