Candid chat with Archana Puran Singh

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If there is one comedy show that has reached the heights of glory, it has to be Sony TV’s Comedy Circus. This Optimistic Entertainment presentation has had several seasons over the past 11 years. With Sony struggling to get numbers, it has fallen back on the above tried and tested stand-up format to regain its former glory.

Any mention of Comedy Circus would be incomplete without referring to its forever-there judge, Archana Puran Singh. Her trademark laugher has always been another talking point.

Hence we touched base with Archanaji about the new season, which will start around August. She will be joined on the judges’ dais with Bollywood star, Sohail Khan, who also judged Comedy Circus before replacing brother Arbaaz (2014).

“We are returning after a gap of three years and are very well aware about the legacy we carry. With Comedy Circus, you can’t ask for what’s new; it is the same old story, but yes, we will continue to keep you entertained as before. The team is working doubly hard to ensure that the level of humor only goes up a notch. We don’t want to disappoint our loyal fan base.”

Archana is proud to be part of the format which has given the industry several new talents and super stars such as Kapil Sharma, Bharati Singh and Kaashif Khan.“This genre is very tough to crack.”

When asked about how she separates the classy jokes from the crass ones, she says, “I am more middle of the road. You also need to factor in that the aam janta does not get too much sophisticated humour. Hence, whenever I judge, I ask myself whether my driver or cook will get the same. Having said that, given the S & P guidelines (in-house censorship), we can’t allow the digs to go below a certain threshold as well.”

Here, she admits, “We have been accused of below-the-belt humor, but again, if you want to have 5 stand-up acts every weekend, a certain amount of naughtiness, as opposed to vulgarity, is bound to creep in. You can’t have clean comedy as in films, which have a set script to fall back on.”

In closing, when asked whether seniors like her handle success better, as opposed to the younger lot, leading to the Kapil Sharma affair, she smartly quipped, “Not knowing all the details, I will not want to comment specifically on what went wrong between Kapil and Sony. But yes, generally speaking, we old- school people very well understand that success is fickle.”

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