Tarun Mohanbhai - ONE MIC STAND

San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba St, Wellington

15/05/2007 - 19/05/2007

Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, The Edge, Auckland

08/05/2007 - 12/05/2007

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

Tarun Mohanbhai

2002 Billy T Nominee That Indian Guy Tarun Mohanbhai is back doing stand up. Drawing on real life experiences of growing up Indian in Aotearoa. After travelling to lands meeting more of his own kind Tarun is able to shed some light on his culture and idiosyncrasies of being Indian.

Tarun has been performing stand up in his interim whilst working on his plays and has in recent times performed in Sydney, South Africa and Vancouver. After spending most of his life working in a dairy he reflects on some of those stories that made him the man he is today.

From Bollywood film shoots, confectionery secrets to audience participation the show promises to wholesome family entertainment…. (Well maybe not that wholesome)

“Tarun is a monsoon of movement language and characters. It is hard to believe on actor does it all. Waikato times September 2004

“Ensuring hair  splitting laughter…..Experience the hilarious roller coaster ride the Indian way, rather the Tarun way. Bharat Times Sydney Australia May 2003

A solidly-built chap, Mohanbhai with considerable vigour skilfully indulged in Bollywood-style dance routines, no easy task.
Translation: Dances well for a fat guy.

Dates:  Tue 8 – Sat 12 May, 8.30pm
Venue:  Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, THE EDGEā, Auckland City
Tickets:  Adults $25 Conc. $22 Groups 10+ $20
Bookings:  Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385)
Show Duration:  1 hour

Dates:  Tue 15 – Sat 19 May, 7pm
Venue:  San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba St, Wellington City
Tickets:  Adults $25 Conc. $22 Groups 10+ $20
Bookings:  Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385)
Show Duration:  1 hour

Theatre , Stand-up comedy , Solo ,

1 hr

This nerd needs to get out more

Review by Thomas LaHood 16th May 2007

Tarun Mohanbai’s comic persona is clearly a nerd, from his ‘Fat Albert’-style red jersey over white shirt to the way his voice squeaks when he gets excited.  This is his charm as well as his schtick, but nerdiness was not enough to win the audience over at his opening-night gig in Wellington.

Mohanbai began with an abysmal one-liner that set the bar for the rest of his set.  He then stuttered his way through a few interviews with the crowd that didn’t net any gags to speak of.  A couple of Hutt girls in the front row, as if placed there by providence, got off lightly; In more proficient hands they would have been given much rougher treated.  This nerd sounded like he was trying to flirt with them.

From there he segued neatly into his (semi)autobiographical material about horrible medical experiences… "[The nurse] said don’t worry, it’s just heat follicles."  Heat follicles?  On his balls?  AND he suffers from Colitis?  When he starts into this stuff, about problems with his arse, it reminds me more of my nerd friends from high school days than I want to remember.

There’s a blah-blah feel to Mohanbai’s delivery.  He chatters on incessantly, seemingly completely unrattled by the audience’s near-silence, the meagre responses to his thudding gags.  His material just doesn’t get there somehow.  Perhaps he doesn’t set his targets high enough, lambasting Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World in Auckland for being too small.  As he says of theme park Rainbow’s End, "It’s alright, but it’s not that good."

He also, nerdily, confesses to watching lots and lots of television, and also evidently draws a lot of material from it.  Which is not particularly interesting.  Still, at times he does hit a shamble if not a stride.  When he talks dirty, for example, getting into grottier, x-rated material, it contrasts to great effect with his nerdy persona and suddenly flies with the crowd.  His up-to-date (to the day) comments on David Bain’s bail release also revealed a comic potential not mined to the same depth elsewhere in the set.

Mohanbai does songs* too, each one intro’ed by a ‘human beatbox’ riff, completely out of beat both with itself and the song that follows. The songs are uniformly about being Asian and are lyrically passable, the funniest of the three written from the perspective of a (young?) man behind the counter at the dairy when a beautiful woman enters.  They are funny in that they are so un-musical, in that they are sung in Mohanbai’s squeaky twitter; they are funny because they are sung by a nerd.

Nerdy humour has its place, and coupled with a razor-sharp intellect can produce material that is searingly clever as well as brutally funny – but the gags on show here in One Mic Stand feel more like the armchair observations of a nerd who needs to get out more.

*Like the majority of NZ comedians, apparently. 


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