The Curry Monster - Sandeep Totlani

‘The Curry Monster’ // Bris Funny Fest

‘The Curry Monster’ was delicious. 

In a dingy little side room of the Heya Bar in Fortitude Valley, Sandeep Totlani presented his newest comedy set, neatly titled ‘The Curry Monster’. To a decent-sized but compact crowd, Sandeep guided the audience through a blend of anecdotes, with both universal and contextual reflections on the world.

Sandeep Totlani is an Indian-Australian dentist, whose by-day profession is in strong contrast to the deep belly laughs he handed out at his show. ‘The Curry Monster’ incorporates audience participation, clever one-liners, an array of anecdotes and some socio-political commentary. Whilst Totlani plays on Indian stereotypes and discusses the concept of white privilege, he does so in a very intelligible manner that allows audience members of all political alliances to enjoy the show. 

The stage was small, but Totlani and his personality were not. He used self-deprecation, and his love of food to engage the crowd. He discussed the challenge of comparing his mother’s cooking to that of a partner and the downside to being a large man from a country stricken by poverty. Totlani used papadums to engage the crowd, pausing the show for a comical food eating contest with a stranger. 

There was nothing particularly noteworthy about Totlani’s attire. He didn’t dress up, he didn’t dress down, he just arrived in a t-shirt and jeans and did his set. His general casualness is was what made him connect so easily with the crowd. Besides his appearance, his body language and relaxed vocal tone made him familiar and relatable. 

Paying homage to his roots, Totlani closed the show with some lessons in Bollywood dancing. One must always sing whilst dancing, and when in doubt pretend you’re screwing in a light bulb. These lessons were put to the test when he had the audience on their feet, partnered up with strangers, and letting loose to his music.

‘The Curry Monster’ provides just a tiny glimpse into the experience of immigrants to Australia by a natural comedian with a comforting presence. The most significant aspect of Totlani’s show is his ability to intertwine universal truths with specific experiences. From the concept of race to the lived experience of racism, from the issue of weight, to the love of food we all share. The show ticks all the boxes and has something for everyone.

‘The Curry Monster’ performed at Heya Bar as part of the 2019 Bris Funny Fest. For more information on the festival, visit Bris Funny Fest’s Website.

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