Funnyman Nitin Mirani wins over Omanis with a unique blend of self-effacing, side-splitting humour. Alvin Thomas chats to the Indian comedian.
When we are asked to keep our “laughing hats ready for a night of comedy” by Joseph Sims – a comedian from Oman Comedy Central, and the MC for the Let’s Talk About Them comedy show – not everyone from the audience is sure what he means.
As a matter of fact, many are doubtful as they sit back in their seats at the Sheraton Oman Hotel for the headline act: a night of comedy with Nitin Mirani aka The Komic Sutra.
“Calling yourself the Komic Sutra is like naming your son Barack Obama. He will have to live up to that name,” says Rupert, an audience member.
“I don’t think he can capture the Omani audience that easily,” a sceptical Rupert tells me.
“We need people who can understand and relate to us,” he explains to his friend who is anxious that Nitin will prove Rupert wrong.
And, boy, Rupert – along with the 800-strong audience – is in for a treat when curtain up reveals one of “Oman’s most memorable comedy nights”, to date.
Starting off the night by catching on Oman’s beloved city ‘Muttrah’, Nitin Mirani grabs his audience by the throat and doesn’t let go. Roughly translated from Arabic, ‘Muttrah’, means “place”.
“Just imagine the meeting where the people were naming this city,” Nitin asks us all, as his eyebrows get lost in thought.
“Imagine how deep the person who named the place had thought before coming up with the name. And then think of what his boss from the naming committee would have told him,” he then asks, as the audience bursts out laughing. Several Omanis slap their thighs in laughter as he carries on.
I soon realise that Nitin’s comedy doesn’t stop with words. His actions and expressions are key elements of his performance, too.
Nitin’s strengths, however, aren’t tailored jokes, but rather, candid ones that are crafted by interviewing the audience.
Throughout his show, Nitin constantly involves two characters: one, an Indian man in his early 40s, whom Nitin says looks “depressed” following his wedding; and two, a young Omani “grumpy” student, Mohammed, who soon turns into the butt of all of Nitin’s jokes.
Several audience members are seen rolling on the floor in laughter. It was all in good sport, though, as the duo enjoy every moment of the night without any complaints.
It’s easy to see why Nitin was voted one of the funniest comedians alive by legendary Hollywood comedian and actor Richard Lewis. He came fourth in the Laugh Factory’s ‘Funniest Person in the World 2015’, a comedy talent hunt.
After the show, I grab Nitin for a quick interview. When I ask him about his presence in the latter show, Nitin’s answer was simple: “I came in fourth in the competition… obviously.
“I am an Indian. I arrived late for the event.”
Comedy, it seems, doesn’t simply end with his show, then. “It was always my dream to make people laugh,” Nitin tells me.
“I had a calling for this. Of course, it’s something that comes to me naturally. A real comedian has to observe his or her surroundings and craft the jokes but also keep the audience gripped at all times.
“It’s not an easy task,” he tells me.
Talking about the Omani audience, Nitin says: “An Omani audience is very different from the UAE audience that I usually deal with. Yes, the nationalities of the people are roughly the same, but people here enjoy my jokes because they can really relate to them.
“I will definitely be back in Oman, again. It has to be one of my most favourite events, to date,” he says.