Kanan Gill has been the darling child of the Indian stand-up scene for a while now. One of the first few to gain star status as an English stand-up comedian, with his YouTube series Pretentious Movie Reviews (with Biswa Kalyan Rath), Kanan is back with his second streaming special, Yours Sincerely, on Netflix. His first was Keep it Real on Amazon Prime.
Yours Sincerely, is meant to be an honest and from the heart comeback effort by Kanan, and it shows. There are important issues that are touched on – bullying, health issues, teenage insecurities, and depression, amongst others. Kanan starts slow, building up from the observational. The airport segment and the “time pass” ones are great build ups to where Kanan wants to eventually lead you, his letter.
The crux of the special is the letter a 15-year-old Kanan wrote for a future Kanan. But before and after we sort of get there, there are detours into Julius Caesar, informal and formal letters, hospitals, and dog breeding. In the first act, the segues, sidebars and punchlines are crafted to deliver a pay-off sometime in the second and third act. The approach has its hits and misses, but mostly hits.
Yours Sincerely, truly gets in the game from the latter part of the second act, because that’s where Kanan’s delivery and pacing really pick up. He takes varied experiences, mashes them together and keeps that mix honest and funny. Kanan’s strength lies in his wordplay and his smarts – and he does not shy away from using those for delivering punchlines, running gags, and eventually, a poignant pay-off.
From the statement about ‘You Lose’ in Street Fighter, to the focus on ‘If Possible’ when it comes to love, it is evident that Kanan has put considerable thought, and a lot of himself, into this special. The portions on friendships, depression and relay race are hilarious, topped off with some clever delivery. The ‘Running Band’ and “metaphor” gags were my favourites, while the Julius Caesar and the sanskrit phrase gags, sort of fell flat.
Yours Sincerely is funny, smart, balanced and well delivered. It does have the occasional pacing issue and works best when Kanan moves closer, connecting the myriad dots. The show succeeds tremendously once it gets to the crux of what it is trying to say, and the resulting special is significantly more profound than the ones produced by Kanan’s peers.
Yours Sincerely, as the name suggests, is a sincere, profound and a genuinely funny stand-up special from Kanan, who now seems to be at the peak of his craft.