( Photo above is a self portrait. Nikon D800 with 85mm f1.8 & SB 910 speedlight with a grid about 6 feet in front and above me at 1/6.4the power zoomed in to 200mm. ISO 100 f7.1 1/250th )

I’ve been meaning to write about the latest comedy special called SHADOWS by Daniel Fernandes. I haven’t stopped thinking about the evening at Canvas Laugh Club at Cyber Hub, Gurgaon. It was a packed, sold-out show, which wasn’t surprising because Daniel is good at what he does. ( His material is intelligent. ) It might even have fucked with my head a bit – or a lot. I’m also on a new birth-control pill to help with my insane acne – and birth-control pills fuck with hormones i.e. now, I’m even more likely to be depressed. Ice-cream availability notwithstanding.

Bharat, who accompanied me to the comedy special, says that Daniel’s performance was “delightfully dark”. It was dark yes but the only “delight” I can think of is that I got to stare at Daniel for almost two hours and also got a selfie with him at the end of the show. Don’t get me wrong, I laughed my ass off. By the end of it, my palms hurt because of all the clapping and the sides of my mouth hurt because of all the laughing. I’d go for the show again but I’d like a large TRIGGER WARNING asterisk on my ticket please. I kid. But not quite.

SHADOWS is about the last six years of Danny’s life. He tells us about the things he’s gone through, funny incidents with an underline of DARK and then some. I don’t know anyone else who does dark humor like this guy does. He’s thoughtful and funny and most of all he’s very comfortable being vulnerable. Sharing some of his darkest secrets with the audience. I have trouble wrapping my head around how this material is even working for an Indian audience. Because it is. Hell, I guess not all of us are dumb cunts after all. Except that one chap who loudly asked Daniel to “Please say some jokes in Hindi because you know, humko samajh nahin aa rahaa hai”, in the middle of his fucking set. Clubs should evict people who create such interruptions. As quickly as possible. And if you’re going for a show like this, for fuck’s sake, don’t talk to the comedian when they are in the middle of their performance unless he / she addresses you first. If you are unsure about etiquette at a stand-up performance, ASK the organizers before hand. They will announce stuff like “no photos” or “no videos” etc. but if you have doubts about other stuff, just ask. Or Google it. Just because you’ve never been to a live stand-up performance doesn’t mean obligatory self-ass-making at the first one.

Daniel’s flow definitely got interrupted because of the above heckler but Abhigyaan in the front row more than made up for it. Hope he got a beer or two for all the ribbing.

The SHADOWS special made me cheer for him, made me want to hug him and hold him and then crack open a beer with him. It made me want a hug for myself too. It made me laugh like a maniac, relate to more things than I’d like to acknowledge publicly ( even though I almost gave away too much by raising my fist in what-I-thought-was-solidarity during one of the joke setups ).

The space at Canvas Laugh Club was very cramped. We were early & got seats in the second row but my knees were squeezed-up against the back of the front-row chairs & the folks in the row behind me were in a similar situation. We ended up sitting on chairs perpendicular to the stage, which wasn’t that bad except it was next to the aisle and well, they serve food and booze during the show so we had people walking in front of us. The sound system wasn’t good enough either. And the show started almost an hour late – I’m guessing because the extra show added earlier didn’t start on time either – probably waiting for seats to fill up because it was announced only a couple of days ago. Seating & time issues are part & parcel of living in India I guess.

Daniel is on tour across the country currently – and then he’s headed abroad with SHADOWS – I recommend you follow him on Twitter to keep track of tour dates and tickets. If you haven’t already watched him perform live, please don’t miss this. It is insanely good on so many levels. And pretty much nothing like anything he’s done previously. This is the second time I got to see him perform live and I am glad I did. It fucked me up a bit but nothing a good red wine won’t sort out in a couple of weeks. I hope.

Reminding myself that it was a performance after all – and to not get so seriously affected by it.

But was it?

The biggest takeaway, for me, from this special was that I AM NOT ALONE.

Thanks Danny.

Until next time.





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