Comedy is more than just a pleasant way to pass an evening, and humour is more than something that just amuses one. They’re interwoven into the fabric of our everyday existence. Whether you’re sharing an entertaining story in the pub, making a self-deprecating joke after someone pays you a compliment or telling a dark pun at a funeral, humour is everywhere. But what is it for? And can humour, as comedy, change the way we feel or we think! Well, for some comedians it can! For them, it isn’t something about getting laughs – it’s about changing what we think and maybe even what we do.
Comedians essentially create sculptures of satire, carved out of the mundane lives of the common man and his perceptions. It is the emotional intelligence of the comedians, which helps them present these simple ideas and opinions, in different hues of humour which tickles one’s funny bones!
My first thought when I think about humour is that it is a great way to engage us all so that we don’t hit each other with sticks.
From the artist’s perspective, Comedy becomes serious right from the point when he/she starts contemplating it as a career option. It is at this point when consistent writing, ethereal stage presence and originality along with preparedness become more important than ever before. While stage presence is something that comes with time, writing and preparedness are the aspects that should be innate to the artist! It is for this reason that people in the circle often say, “To market yourself before being well prepared is a call of death!” Now you know, it isn’t all smiles and giggles and is a sincere attempt to amuse the audiences. Again, the corporatization of stand-up makes life a tad more difficult for comedians who thrive on performing political, sexual, or other edgy satires.
The Indian Perspective
The culture of comedy in India is growing by leaps and bounds with people having limited choices beyond movies and music. Moreover, given that most of us are leading stressful lives, there is this constant need to de-stress, and what better than a dose of comedy.
Most people do not live their lives in a state of earnest dramatic contemplation of how dark our lives are. When you're talking about a family in crisis, humour is what gets you through. “Very often what comedians do is use logic to make painful things make sense.” They have a unique and what can be easily called the admirable way of articulating complicated emotions and arguments which otherwise just lie in the heart unexamined and murky, by using jokes as a framing mechanism.”I think that if someone can make you laugh over what a mess everything is, then that person has not just earned your admiration but, on some level, has also earned your trust and even respect.
“Humour can prove to be a social corrective in matters of social justice. We see this in LGBT based comedy, religious as well as feminist humour. Even the political potential of comedy clearly suggests that this art form is worth taking seriously! It validates shared experiences, helps us think more flexibly and reframe situations in this shared experience we call life.”
“Today, comedy has had to get so good because the news has got so bad. This could be the best time ever to be a political comedian, and they may be needed more than ever!”
The Underlying Potential
Below Pointers from the Youtube Reports for the year 2016 suggests the immense potential that lies in this category:-
- 5 out of top 10 most viewed videos on YouTube were Comedy based.
- In India, Comedy Shows/Comedy based Internet Spoofs have shown the fastest growth in viewership in the year 2016
- Comedy contributes over 30% of total hours within TV Show Category and similar trend of consumption for YouTube
To add to it, more than 200 offline comedy shows are held on a monthly basis across the country. At present, there are 100+ comedians in the country who are making serious efforts on daily basis to add humour to people’s lives and the number is only going to rise from here on. With comedy and video on the cusp of growth, this genre will account for almost 50% of the video consumption.
One of the unique platforms from India which is growing rapidly, capitalising on the video and comedy is Comedy Munch. It is a platform aimed at offering seamless support to the aspiring comics in India by aiding them to create, publish, distribute and monetize the artist content on its OTT Platform, Youtube, telecom operators, Handset OEM’s, DTH Providers etc. Not surprisingly, Comedy Munch has become one of the fastest platforms for the consumption of various flavours of Comedy in national as well as regional languages!