Who doesn’t want to end their week with a good laugh? And that is what you would have got if you were in the audience at stand-up comedian Zakir Khan’s show at the JT Performing Arts Centre in Kochi on Saturday.
Zakir became a known face in India’s comedy world in 2012 after winning the title of ‘India’s Best Stand Up’, a comedy competition organised by Comedy Central. He later became an internet sensation by releasing three standup series Haq Se Single (2017), Kaksha Gyarvi (2018) and Tathastu (2022) on Amazon Prime Video and is now doing live comedy shows by touring different cities.
His first stop this year is in Kochi which also happens to be his first time performing in this city. He started the show on a melodious (not really though) note where he lifted his guitar and sang about his life struggles, albeit laced with humour. Most part of the show was in Hindi, but that did not stop the audience from cracking up at his relatable jokes. Zakir, known for his punchline “sakht launda” which refers to a guy with immense self-control and does not easily fall for girls, set the mood of his standup by sharing what his girlfriend once told him: “When other men do push ups you wear one.”
Zakir brings in a comedic twist even as he shares his experiences with different relationships he has witnessed, right from that of his parents to his personal equations with the women he has been with. He spoke about how his housewife mom, who apparently did ‘work from home’ by keeping tabs on his dad, who left his job and sat at home critiquing every single piece of news a channel had to offer. He also took the audience on a nostalgia ride with his boy tales about girls.
Early into his act, Zakir spoke about an alleged unspoken understanding between men of all ages regarding all things female, or the “bro code”. It seemed like his jokes struck a chord with the audience because many of them still rely on generalising how men and women behave in romantic relationships. You could see it coming every time he goes “ladkiyon ka aisa hai na [girls are like this right?]”.
Zakir later directly approached all the single men in the crowd and addressed them as his “class of students”. It seemed like a good amount of single men attended his show based on the number of men shouting “yes sir”, acknowledging each of his statements. He mentioned the struggles of dating from the point of view of an average man who feels entitled to gain a woman’s attention and affection. When he said “take your lady shopping because next time you come across an argument you can remind yourself that you’ve already gotten past the bigger hurdle”, the crowd burst into laughter. He then said: “Who do you think women speak to the most?” A moment of whispers in the crowd followed by Zakir answering: “Themselves”. The crowd couldn’t agree more.
Although his jokes were based around the unfair singlehood of an average guy in the world of modern dating, it is the women who become the gist of every line.
Zakir has an inborn skill to engage with his audience by transporting them into his own life with visually evocative storytelling. The show went on for over 90 minutes with the crowd’s standing ovation for the artist as he called it a night.