Navin Noronha started his open mic journey in 2014, and has spent years crafting his solo comedy show ‘The Good Child.’ The show is a testament to Navin’s skills as a stand up comedian and has turned him into one of the most beloved and well known queer comedic voices in the country. ‘The Good Child’ has been defined as Navin’s life story told through jokes and he has traveled the country and Australia in 2020 mesmerizing audiences everywhere. He also loves the queer energy of Kolkata and cities like Delhi which have designated spots like Depot 48.
The anecdotal nature of the show helps to raise the bar high for the laughs immensely, starting from him coming out to his conservative mom multiple times – as gay, as a stoner and as an atheist. It feeds right into his time with his boyfriend, the quirks of the gay dating scene, and all the while offering a glimpse into the everydayness of growing up in Mumbai. Another reason the comedy solo works is the emphasis on anecdotes is personal which leads to relatability and that is a sure factor that makes everything fun. The everydayness of growing up in Mumbai involves hilarious and outright bonkers experiences of using toilets and interactions between mothers, children, cousins and neighbours.
In a short interview, Navin mentioned how comedy focusing on a queerness for him is coming from a place of honesty and is all about owning up to who he always has been. Due to the personal nature of the show, it has been cathartic and therapeutic too since we come to terms with the harsh reality and even laugh at it at times. He also mentioned that he doesn’t put much emphasis on labels as people change and there is more to life than being in a box. Additionally, comedy has been a calling for him and he views it as art from a queer lens.
On asking about the making of the show, Navin mentioned that it wrote itself through a constant process of performing and practice while on the road, which can be daunting as a queer independent artist. Sometimes, you perform in a room full of people, other times, in front of three people. He compares it to cooking where you present the raw version, then work it, and then present the cooked version. And being receptive also helps a lot to shape the show. There was a lot of queer artists who Navin got inspired from including Hannah Gadsby: Nanette (which he calls a revolutionary experience for him), Josh Thomas (creator of Netflix’s Please Like Me), HBO’s Looking, and also drag artists like Bianca Del Rio and Jinkx Monsoon.
There is no stone left unturned as the element of audience inclusion and response also takes a spot for highlight. This directly shows that the show is reaching to both queer audiences who are enjoying it but also to allies for whom it’s a different spin on expression of queerness. Navin makes deft usage of the queer audience, using multiple gay culture references which often receive a roar from the audience. In addition, these references are also sprinkled with the differences between millennials and Gen-Z, which does elicit well deserved laughs. His favorite bits of the show always include interactions with queer audiences, many of whom have come out to him during and post the show. As a comic, he wants the people to know that comedy as an art form has existed since long and they are not enemies, they are just inclined to make a lot of changes.
The solo also paces really well, partially through Navin’s charm and partially through Navin’s ability to switch from serious topics to taking jibes at the church or politics to sharing an incident that would be featured in the likes of parody movies. A whole section of the show is devoted to church, convent school, scary nuns and cultural showdowns with people from other states. Surprisingly, it doesn’t hinge on the trope of stereotype and rather jumps right into unbelievably funny incidents from Navin’s life. The interaction with cousins, or dealing with a whatsapp group of families, or an epic incident involving a towel, a fat baby, and a high Navin are sure to cause a laugh riot.
And of course, being a queer stand up, there is much discussion on the dating apps including mention of Grindr, tinder, bumble, okcupid, Planet Romeo, and blued among others. It would be a disservice to not highlight how Navin ends up creating humor from the most over discussed topics of queer culture be it dating apps or preferences of sexual position. Finally, the last sections of the show focus on politics, pride being political, and the constant tussle between left wing queers and right wing queers. Walking on a thin line, the solo delivers its point without compromising being overly critical of anyone to the extent that they feel offended.
The poster of the show done by the artist Gilheri is also unique and queer in all its aspects. It captures the dramatic flair of Navin’s solo comedy show and guarantees that this is gonna be epic. In an article by Deadant on the rise of queer comedy in India, Noronha has shared in detail his journey about venturing into comedy and the landscape shift in the comedy scene in India in the last few years and what obstacles he and other comedians like him have faced. In his interview with Gaysi, Navin also addressed that comedy has been about pushing boundaries of people and humor in itself isn’t problematic but the intent can be. Further, there are different forms like family friendly, observational, and dark energy. He also said that today clips can be taken out of context, which do not represent the show completely. Having said that, comedy is not about punching down people and can be akin to a salad with different ingredients tossed together, which might not be for everyone.
‘The Good Child’ is a refreshing, well thought-out, smart, and above all, hilarious exploration of queerness through comedy. Its subversiveness is established in not being misogynistic or homophobic in its approach to generate laughs. Rather, the show is honest, charming, and outright bonkers in some sections, making it a treat for audiences everywhere, and a special treat for queer audiences due to its high nature of relatability situated in the everydayness of growing up queer, atheist and a stoner in Mumbai. The hard work of Navin Noronha clearly shines bright and as part of the audience, it makes me really excited and anticipatedly waiting for Navin’s next work.
You can check out the upcoming show on ‘Average Adult Tour’ by Navin here. Navin’s first comedy special ‘The Good Child’ can be accessed here on YouTube. You can follow Navin on Instagram, Twitter and support his work on Paypal and Instamojo here.