This may be a controversial statement, but let’s put aside the hype of the Taylor Swift Eras Tour for just one minute. For there is a new era of Neel Kolhatkar and his latest stand-up comedy tour to espouse, the wickedly titled Villain Era.
Nothing is off limits in this show!
Sydney-based Kolhatkar is one of Australia’s most prominent young comedians, having spent over a decade peppering audiences with his sharp, provocative humour. Influenced by Chris Rock and Russell Peters, his live shows are described as high energy, sometimes abstract, and replete with many act-outs and accents.
And, of course, very funny, too.
Villain Era is Kolhatkar’s first solo Australian tour in almost five years. Nothing will be off-limits as Neel takes aim at social media, politics, culture, and even himself. Neel explains the title comes from a collection of phrases, popular on social media, that refer to the various eras of one’s life.
“Someone may go through their hippie or corporate era, for example,” Neel explains. “I went with Villain Era because, as the name suggests, many of the jokes, and overall theme, is caustic, edgy and mischievous.”
Neel has already started his national tour with a successful show in Perth, holding nothing back as he continues to unleash his brash brand of comedy on nationwide audiences. He confides that the new material has been receiving great feedback, not only from audiences but from fellow comedians as well.
“A few jokes certainly leave the audience on edge, but with the rhythm of my set, I tend to build up the tension with edgier material, then release it with some big laughs,” he tells.
The art of crafting a comedy show
Neel has undoubtedly not eased off the comedy throttle in the years since his last solo tour, keeping busy with a constant schedule of short-form comedy sets.
“[With the short form sets] you’re in just one gear, trying to cram as many punchlines into your set as possible,” he explains. “Then, there are gear shifts you go through with a longer show.
“You want to ease into the darker or more opinionated gear; at least, that’s how I try and do it,” Neel continues. “You’re building that long show over months, and it’s all one giant puzzle where each joke should slot nicely into place, maintaining the show’s momentum, energy, and through-line.”
Beyond stand up : a multifaceted content creator
Neel has also been busy managing various live club shows across the country under the Comedy Untamed moniker, which features improv and banter from some of Australia’s wildest comedians. He is also a successful YouTuber and podcaster, amassing a massive fanbase from his online content.
It is all part of the job of a modern-day comedian, as Neel can attest.
“All artists have morphed into generalised content creators or influencers,” he says. “I thoroughly enjoy podcasting, and has been an educational experience. However, producing high-quality stand-up or sketch material is the best way to generate and sustain an audience as a comedian.”
The Villain Era tour will bring Neel back to The Street Theatre on Friday, 24 November, for one night only. Having performed here many times, Neel understands the nuance of a Canberra audience and has the comedy chops to bring the audience along for a hilarious ride.
“Canberra seems to be the most learned crowd, and that comes with a positive and negative side”, Neel explains. “The positive is that many of my political jokes don’t go over people’s heads. The negative side is that they can be a harder audience to please.
“But I like the challenge.”
Neel Kolhatkar plays at The Street Theatre on Friday, 24 November, at 8pm. Tickets are $35.90 + bf via the venue.