He’s chubby, he’s funny and he’s gay. And now he’s coming out with his own
one-hour stand-up comedy show. Mainly because people told him it’s high time
and after three years of performing, people still remember him for showing up that
one time on Queens of Comedy or Son of Abish. There are a lot of things Navin has to say and since he cannot fit an audience inside that comfy closet, he is stepping out to stir s*** up. Come join him on this anxiety-fueled self-affirming trip.
Walking onto the stage with a sheepish grin and mischief in his eyes, Navin Noronha had captured the audience without so much as a hello.
We know what his show is called; ‘Coming Out Soon’, and we know he’s something we haven’t seen before – an openly gay man ready to break stereotypes and make you do enough spit-takes you’d get dehydrated, because it’s a hot summer day and despite the merciful air-conditioning, everyone has a chilled drink in hand. The fact that fifty bucks of the two-hundred-and-fifty rupee ticket is the cover charge – well, nobody likes to waste money.
Despite being the main theme of the show, Noronha’s sexuality – while automatically disarming to an Indian audience – is not the only thing he focuses on. Born and raised in Bombay, he even has a lot to say about growing up catholic, going to church, how his parents shaped his early childhood with their religious beliefs, etc.
With a healthy dose of cynicism and irony, he sent his audience into peals of laughter, even though none of them were catholic. Maybe it’s because on April 20th, ‘Coming Out Soon’ took place in Bandra itself, a suburb with a significant Christian population and even us non-christians know the basic tenets of the religion in question.
Speaking of religion, he has no compunctions against firing off some quick-witted knee slappers on everything from terrorism to Baba Ramdev, adding enough comical yogic poses to send his audience into fits of laughter. You name it, he ridicules it, but he does it so absurdly and with such good humour you can tell it’s all in good fun. He tackles homophobia with a finesse of double-entendres and illogical logic that made his audience weep in mirth.
He tackles coming out of the closet like Attila the Hun, with a hysterical tale of his own coming out and the challenges and reactions of his families, friends and peers. He elaborated on how gay stereotypes shaped the reactions of his male and female friends and lightly jested about the fragility of the male ego with stories of exes and guy best friends.
Noronha even throws in some colourful, side-splitting anecdotes about life in Bombay, from the lesser known corners of Colaba Causeway to the madness (and inherent gayness) of the local trains. While his performance is primarily in english, he switches back and forth between that and Hindi to deliver delightfully desi punchlines and had his audience snorting in mirth. He’s also endearingly not politically correct and hilariously involved his audience in his act, with a spontaneity that made it quite obvious that he was improvising brilliantly, tailoring his witticisms to nerds and jocks alike when the opportunity came up.
Noronha’s also a genuinely nice guy, and here comes an embarrassing story from my side. His set up for a joke was so funny that I half spat out and half choked on an ill-timed mouthful of water. Without even hearing the actual joke. He immediately paused and asked someone to ‘hand the lady some tissues’ before finishing the joke, leaving us in stitches and me wiping my eyes in both amusement and sheer mortification.
The man’s a genius. He’ll make you laugh, he’ll make you cry, he’ll definitely make you cry laughing, but, at the end of it he’ll show you a hell of a good time. Just watch when you take a sip of whatever your poison is.
Navin Noronha is performing next at The Integral Space, Lower Parel, on June 18th, June 27th and July 5th. He’ll also be performing at The Cuckoo Cafe, Bandra West on June 29th. Tickets can be purchased here.