Schitzengiggles, the comic group founded back in 2010 by 31 year-old Karan Talwar, who also runs his own business of refurbishing old ship parts, along with 25 year-old Varun Thakur and 29 year-old Brij Bhatka, are all set to perform today at the Bombay Store, in collaboration with Project Crayons assisted by NGO Samhita, for a good cause.
All the proceeds from the show will go towards this NGO, which empowers marginalised communities through health, education and rights with their various programmes such as School on Wheels and Young Women Welfare Centre, among others. Schitzengiggles first worked with an NGO called Sparsh Balgram in February this year, an orphanage for children with HIV. Through their performances the group raised Rs 2 lakh.
The funds were used to build another house for the orphans. “Stand-up comedy is getting bigger by the day but we thought we should do something different where the positive repercussions of our efforts are felt elsewhere too. Thus we decided to work with NGOs. It all started with a simple tweet asking whether there were any NGOs out there who needed funding,” says Talwar. “Also, a platform for first-time comedians who wanted to take their dinner table jokes and adapt them to the stage was missing even though the stand-up comedy scene has grown. Thus our numerous open-mic events that too for charity.”
The name Schitzengiggles is a German word, which was candidly chosen from the 2006 film Beerfest — Schitzengiggles being the bar the two Wolfhouse brothers own (in the movie). “We stumbled upon the name by chance, didn’t give it much thought and now our group is called Schitzengiggles,” says Talwar. He confesses that he got into comedy quite randomly after a couple of open-mic shows. Thereafter the “keeda” of comedy took over.
Five comics, Karan Talwar, Sapan Verma, Brij Bhakt, Atul Khatri and Tanmay Bhat will be performing tonight, each for around 20 minutes, with Bhat playing more the role of MC of the show. “The comics will present universal content such as married life, life experiences and observational humour; things that usually go unnoticed,” says 44 year-old Atul Khatri, a businessman, who first started stand-up comedy in January on one of Karan’s open-mic shows at Cool Chef Café in Worli. Khatri thereafter performed at another open-mic at Bistro Grill and in March, he also performed at the Comedy Store.
Bhat, 25, performer-cum-MC at the show tonight was one of the first people to have performed at the Comedy Store. He has written for magazines, TV and feature films among others. “My love for the stage started 18 years ago in school when I was a sunflower in a play called My Daddy is the Best. All I had to do was swing from east in the beginning of the play to the west in the end,” says Bhat.
“With each open-mic we are learning something new. And doing comedy for a good cause is probably the best sort of learning,” says Talwar.