Get Your Giggles with India's Underground Improv

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Mumbai’s improv comedy scene is taking off in underground clubs around the city.

From bars, cafes, and restaurants to hotels, nightclubs and back alleys and even in legitimate theater spaces (like Prithvi Theater and the Comedy Store), the comedy scene in Mumbai is going off.

Improv comedy is fairly new in India but in less than four years, it has become a major hit in pubs and cafes. Patrons don’t just come for drinks and coffee; they now demand their share of bizarre scenarios and on-the-spot jokes. The frantic pace of big city living has increased the demand for the relaxed, the unrestricted, and the unrehearsed—traditional standup is out, improv is in. And the local jesters are rocking it.

Of course, once you decide to go check out the latest improv, your next decision is where to go. In our city of 20 million, finding the perfect spot for a night out with teammates can be tricky. We called in a ringer, and one of our favourite After Hours Athletes, Adam Dow to help us out. He’s the founder of Improv Comedy Mumbai

We hit the streets and back alleys with Adam in search of the best underground stages to catch improv.

First off we hit up Ibar in Bandra. They’re known for their monthly Big Mic nights where up-and-coming performers show their best stuff and compete for prizes. Next show is January 14th—don’t’ miss it.

Next, in dire need of a little grub to go with our cocktails and comedy, we headed over to Lagerbay. It’s got that classic pub atmosphere, and the tight space is perfect for short form “barprov”—improv that makes the most of the crowd’s energy and calls for lots of audience interaction.

We also like Lagerbay shows because they tend to get weird. The improv is sprinkled with impromptu songs and riffs on Bollywood clichés. And with a mix of 70 percent English to 30 percent Hindi, the shows are perfect for all our Mumbaikar teammates.

Point is, here in Mumbai you're never far from pairing belly laughs with beers. And if you miss out, well, we guess the joke's on you.

Photos courtesy of Improv Comedy Mumbai