Kenny Sebastian’s The Most Interesting Person In The Room review: One for the gallery
It is not that Kenny’s jokes in The Most Interesting Person In The Room aren’t funny, we have just seen him do them plenty of times
I began watching stand-up comedy around 4-5 years back when the bubble really blew up in our major cities. Open mics were becoming more common, YouTube sketches were becoming popular, and also viral. It was around this time that I stumbled upon Kenny Sebastian and his body of work. The ‘paavam’ comedian of YouTube, Kenny’s content was fresh. He gave the right mix of edge and relatability, topping it off with a dollop of music. His Chai With Kenny episodes was the perfect companion to a relaxing afternoon with a cup of chai in hand.
And when I watched Kenny’s latest special The Most Interesting Person In The Room, I felt like I travelled back in time. The tone of his jokes, the nature of his performances remain mostly the same. The references to his schooling in Kendriya Vidyalaya, his art and sculpture degree… there is a collective cheer as Kenny picks up his guitar for a ‘lazy song’. There’s a harmonium thrown in as well. The Most Interesting Person... is Kenny Sebastian playing it safe, giving exactly what he knows his audiences expect of him.
Creator: Kenny Sebastian
Streaming on: Netflix
He does touch some interesting themes, like self-worth. The most interesting person in the room? Babies. It is endearing when Kenny acknowledges that they are no match for the little attention-centres, and also how we measure our self-worth through jokes. Even more so, that his self-worth is now based on how people react to his Ostrich jokes. The jokes might not be exactly fresh, but Kenny’s earnestness presents an insightful take. For example, he acknowledges how he found it surprising that people were ready to pay to listen to his jokes, while we mostly try to maneuver through life without listening to anyone. And later, he takes a water break and a pause, and the audience cheers for it. And his instantaneous response is, "Tomorrow I am going to drink water at home, and no one will react. And I will be bummed." This part of the show also brings some of the vulnerability and unrehearsed humour that makes him adorable. However, the show doesn’t have enough of these moments.
It would have been great to see Kenny step out of his comfort zone. And this isn’t just about Kenny. Stand-up in India has been around a few years now, and with increasing exposure to international content, one starts to wonder why we are stuck at the same levels here. Of course, the censorship scene here is different, but it is also a question about the craft. It isn’t as much as fun when you exactly identify and remember how a comic segues from one part of his show to another, and when breaks can be predicted. Of course, they are planned, but the point is to be inconspicuous, that’s part of the illusion that the comic creates.
In that sense, we still have a long way to go. It is not that Kenny’s jokes aren’t funny. But we have seen him do them plenty of times. How about branching out to newer areas, more complex jokes, or themes?