Zoom is no alternative to stage shows but they are keeping the jokes coming
They love to bring on the laughs and learnt to perform on stage alongside their studies. They built their audience slow and steady, from college fests to cafes. On World Laughter Day, we caught up with two graduates and one undergrad student to know where they find their laughs and how.
SHILADITYA CHATTERJEE, Electrical Engineering graduate, batch of 2020, Institute of Engineering & Management
My journey: I started performing at open mics in 2018. From Marine Engineering and Research Institute (Taratala) to Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital and IIT Kharagpur, I have performed at quite a few campuses. I have also performed at cafes, restaurants and bars. My first big performance was at Calcutta/Kolkata is a…. Our last show was Just Kidding at Gyan Manch.
My take on comedy: I believe comedy is personal. People say my comedy is mostly observational. I try to make comedy out of anything that makes me invested in it. I am still learning. The most important thing is to be aware.
Adapting to the new normal:
I am still trying to adapt. I believe comedy is for a live audience. It can't be shifted to a Zoom call. So I am writing on my own, watching other people’s works and evolving.
Tip for budding comedians:
Try to be aware. Write about things that are personal to you, and address topics. Try to find your voice and, most importantly, enjoy yourself.
NITIN GUPTA, Computer Science graduate, batch of 2019, St. Xavier’s College
My journey: I started performing in 2018. It began out of curiosity but I fell in love with stand-up comedy while performing. I went on to create a podcast, The Rhetoric Life, which became very popular in the city. I kept performing, from Hyderabad to Bangalore. It’s been a tough process but at the same time extremely rewarding.
The most memorable moment was when I organised my first stand-up show and sold 40 tickets. It was a huge number for me and that motivated me further.
My take on comedy: Content creation is key to success in this field. I used Instagram as my main platform (@asknitingupta) to share content and slowly build an audience that would then find it worthy to attend my shows.
Adapting to the new normal: Zoom shows are not fun at all. It’s been difficult. A lot of comedians have stopped performing because online shows just don’t feel the same. Things got better and places opened up again but now it’s back to square one.
Tip for budding comedians: Perform as much as possible. Write all the time. Even if you’re not performing, don’t stop writing. Just because you’re not funny on stage, in the beginning, doesn’t mean you can’t be. Start creating content online. Create original content that you believe to be funny.
ANNESWAN ADHWARYU, second year, Media Science, UG, The Heritage Academy
My journey: I started attending open mics in 2019. My first performance was at Infi Lounge, Salt Lake, after which I performed all over the city. Right now, I am interning at Topcat Retired Comedy Club. Stand-up is fun! I value even a 5-minute spot. I treat it like a regular open mic.
My take on comedy: I create content based on my experiences and my observations on life. I also try to stay updated with trends so that the content I create is not out of place.
Adapting to the new normal: I don't consider Zoom to be the new normal. Watching or performing stand-up live will always be the only normal way to do it. However, Zoom does help in times when there's no chance of having a live mic or show.
Tip for budding comedians: There's no alternative to open mics. You need to start hitting open mics and get as many spots as you can. That apart, everyone has their own journey to follow.
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