Bas Kar Bassi review: Anubhav Singh Bassi regales with trademark wit, punchlines

In his new show on Amazon Prime Video, stand-up comedian Bassi revels in a telling of his personal experiences with a level of frankness that borders on audacious

Anubhav Singh Bassi
Anubhav Singh Bassi is akin to an unreserved extrovert, on a mission to divulge every intimate detail of his life.

An air of anticipation permeates the room as Anubhav Singh Bassi waltzes onto the stage, poised and confident. He begins with a sharp jab, delivering a punchline: “You guys are shameless, Really!” His audience bursts into raucous laughter and he continues, “I’m not even sober yet and you’re expecting me to make you laugh?” Bassi’s trademark self-deprecating tone, polished to perfection, sets the tone for the performance to come.

Thirty-two-year-old-Bassi, a celebrated stand-up comedian and actor, has become an Internet sensation, capturing the hearts of millions of college and school-going students with his relatable content and rib-tickling humour. His videos garner millions of views.

Recently, Bassi has taken his craft to the next level, showcasing his latest one-and-a-half-hour-long special on Amazon Prime Video. In the show, titled Bas Kar Bassi, the artiste draws on various themes, including the chaotic Mumbai traffic, his attempts to practise law, and his audacious forays into entrepreneurship. With his impeccable comic timing and wit, Bassi regales audiences with his unique perspective and razor-sharp humour.

A web of anecdotes

As he delves into his material, weaving a web of anecdotes and musings, Bassi proves himself to be a masterful storyteller. However, as the performance progresses, his momentum begins to flag. His accounts of his time working at the Supreme Court and at a start-up lack the punch and sparkle of his earlier material. Despite his best efforts, he struggles to establish the characters of his friends, a shortcoming that becomes increasingly apparent as the performance wears on.

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Yet, even as the story loses its footing, Bassi perseveres, delivering a string of well-timed jabs at minor squabbles with fellow shoppers, a brawl with a boy, and the trials and tribulations of home delivery. While not his strongest performance, he manages to pull off the story, leaving the audience both satisfied and wanting more.

Bassi is an exceptionally skilled comic who excels in the art of storytelling. Like stand-up comedian Devesh Dixit, his tales are infused with complex plots and eccentric characters who enjoy the pleasures of intoxication. Rather than relying on one-liners, Bassi employs extended set-ups and unforgettable punchlines. His performances are known to generate memes and are highly memorable.

The art of self-deprecation

Bassi regales his audience with hilarious accounts of his drunken escapades, his experiences in the hostel, and his struggles to discover his true calling. In his uproarious show, Bassi taps into the common aspiration of many young individuals who are searching for direction in life — the dream of becoming an entrepreneur.

He weaves an engaging narrative around the tale of himself and his comrades venturing into the world of gastronomy, and with his extravagant wit, he captivates the crowd. The inception of this culinary adventure was sparked during a round-table colloquy, where five comrades, including Bassi, imbibed copious amounts of alcohol and sought to discover a new ‘perspective’ on life.

Bassi’s performances are a masterful display of self-deprecation, a hallmark shared by many of his peers such as Ravi Gupta, Harsh Gujral, Prashasti Singh, Aishwarya Mohanraj, and Aashish Solanki. Through their sets, they artfully skewer the mundanities of everyday life, the humdrum routines of office culture, and the ceaseless disappointments, failures, and stereotypes that permeate society.

Yet, it is Bassi’s uncanny ability to infuse his stories with an unparalleled relatability, born from his own self-awareness, that has earned him a devoted following, particularly among college students and young professionals. His comic prowess is a testament to his ability to tap into the collective consciousness of his audience and articulate their most intimate anxieties and frustrations with an incisive wit and unfailing charm.

An unreserved extrovert

Bassi is akin to an unreserved extrovert, on a mission to divulge every intimate detail of his life. In Bas Kar Bassi, he revels in a telling of his personal experiences with a level of frankness that borders on audacious. When asked about the inspiration behind the show’s name, he humorously recounted the many times he had been urged to quit various jobs due to his perceived inadequacy.

“People would often tell me ‘Bas Kar Bassi’ because they realized that the job wasn’t meant for me. So, I thought the title would be perfect for my first special,” he quipped to the news agency IANS. Through this light-hearted jab, Bassi transforms his supposed failures into comedic fodder, endearing himself to audiences with his ability to laugh at his own foibles.

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An intriguing contrast can be drawn between Bassi and the previous generation of comedians who rose to fame on shows like The Laughter Challenge, including the likes of Sunil Pal, Rajeev Nigam, and Raju Srivastava. Unlike Bassi and his contemporaries, these comedians seldom drew humour from the commonplace realities of everyday life and the mundane drudgery of office culture.

Rather, they sought to tickle the funny bone through politically charged commentary, humorous musings on marriage and parties, or uproarious mimicry, all of which served to elevate their popularity. Nonetheless, each generation of comedians has left its unique mark on the Indian comedy scene, each carving out its distinct niche in the realm of laughter and entertainment.

The shift in the world of comedy

Today, a seismic shift has occurred in the world of comedy, reflecting the changing attitudes of millennials who were once stifled by their parents’ aspirations and the limited range of acceptable career choices, such as engineering and medicine.

Disgruntled by the constraints of their past, these young adults now find solace in laughing at their shared struggles. It is little wonder, then, that many of the most popular stand-up comedians of today, engineers included, find humour in these very experiences. The once-dominant style of comedy that focused on politics, mimicry, and other topics now finds a limited audience. In its stead, a new generation of comedians has emerged, harnessing the power of humour to explore the complexities of modern life and to shed light on the shared experiences that bind us all.

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Bassi’s comedic genius lies in his ability to tap into the disenchantment that plagues so many millennials today. His most popular videos offer a hilarious take on the absurdities of life, from his stint at National Law University and his hostel experiences to his quixotic attempt to crack the UPSC exam. In the age of the internet, where cultural messaging is key, the success of a video often hinges on its ability to generate meme-worthy catchphrases that resonate with a wide audience.

A bond that transcends mere entertainment

Bassi’s trademark catchphrase, koi sense hai iss baat ka (does it make sense?), has become an anthem for a generation grappling with the absurdities of modern life. Likewise, fellow comic Abhishek Upmanyu’s now-iconic catchphrase, “Haan bhai! aa gaya swaad?” (Bro, got the taste?), has propelled him to fame and cemented his status as a rising star in the world of comedy. In the hands of these talented artists, catchphrases become more than just a tool for gaining popularity; they become a way to give voice to the collective frustrations and aspirations of a generation.

In an era of endless content and insatiable appetites for entertainment, artists must be skilled at capturing the nuances of the human condition. Self-deprecating humour, in particular, has emerged as a powerful tool in this regard, allowing comedians like Bassi to connect with audiences by turning their own shortcomings and insecurities into sources of laughter.

By acknowledging our shared imperfections and frailties, Bassi and his peers are able to create a sense of intimacy and camaraderie with their audiences, forging a bond that transcends mere entertainment. In a world that often feels chaotic and disconnected, this ability to find humour in our own flaws and foibles is more valuable than ever, reminding us of the shared humanity that unites us all.