For those of you who had read my review of Karthik Kumar’s #PokeMe, you would have known that I had thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was a non-stop laugh riot.
So when I discovered that he was returning to Singapore to perform his second solo special, #SecondDecoction, I was simply thrilled. At the same time, a part of me also wondered if it was even possible for him to top the brilliant performance in #PokeMe. But clearly, my doubts were unfounded as not only was #SecondDecoction equally as brilliant as #PokeMe, but in some aspects it was even better than before.
Let me begin by saying that Karthik adhered to his trademark style of engaging with the audience. As soon as he steps into the arena, he quickly gets to know some of his audience members and then he cleverly weaves them and their stories into his performance. Despite watching him artfully execute this feat for a second time, I was still in awe of his ability (and also his memory) to make this unrehearsed segment seem so polished. If I did not know better, I would accuse him of ‘planting’ his people in the audience!
In terms of content, Karthik continues to take on interesting and possibly even taboo topics such as caste, race, politics and specifically in this edition – The Middle Class. His depiction of the ‘middle class’ mentality was so relatable that people around me were constantly nodding their head in agreement throughout this segment. In the unhinged laughter that enveloped the studio theatre, there was also an element of self-reflection. Refreshingly and rather admirably, Karthik makes you laugh not only with him, at him but also inevitably at yourself.
Perhaps what I appreciated most and also what I would consider to be an improvement from his first solo special was the deliberate and concerted attempt to contextualise his script and performance to suit the local audience. He made references to the ‘rivalry’ between Singapore and Malaysia, ION Shopping Mall and even kaya toast (how could he not – kaya toast is the bomb). It was in this regard that the amount of hard work he puts into his craft was clearly illuminated. Karthik has clearly done his homework, indicating that he does not take his audience for granted and strives to include them in his show.
In conclusion, Karthik continues to be a cut above the rest in terms of stand-up comedy as his brand of comedy does not suffer from the usual women bashing and misogynistic tendencies that some other comedians unabashedly adhere to. Karthik treats his audience as intelligent beings and his comedy most definitely reflects that. Once again, Karthik’s brilliant, astute, rib tickling, thought-provoking and a tad crazy, standup comedy act #SecondDecoction will have you doubling over in splits.
Karthik Kumar’s Second Decoction Australian tour for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will be happening from 28 – 30 April 2017.