When Comedy was only in the Movies
Stand-up comedy was never looked at as a full time career option. People did stand-up as a hobby. They all held day jobs as well. The major source of comedy was films. Movies were the only platform where we got to see some of the different categories of comedy. Charlie Chaplin made the Indian film industry take notice of comedians. Legendary comedians like Johnny Walker, Mehmood, and Kishor Kumar were very popular for their comic timing. But being in the movies never gave comedians a chance to explore their full potential in terms of content. Over the years their parts were reduced to sometimes just making funny faces.
There are many forms of comedy mimicry being the most common one and stand-up the toughest. In stand-up comedy acts, the comedian has to crack jokes and interact with a live audience. The jokes and gigs need to be witty and connect with the audience as the feedback is instant. Although stand-up was popular in the west, India wasn’t even aware of this form of comedy.
India was hit by the Internet wave
With the spread of the internet across households and acts by people like Russell Peters hitting the computer screens of youngsters in India, there was a sudden awareness of this form of comedy. People started to be more accommodating and realized that it is cool to laugh at oneself. This gave rise to a number of comedians who started to believe that this field had potential. As their popularity increased, Comedy clubs sprouted up in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore. A variety of shows on TV called in comedians to showcase their talents. They even had shows wholly dedicated to comedy. As a result of the overwhelming response of youngsters to stand-up comedy videos, many corporate companies began inviting them to perform at their events.
How the Video Platforms were utilised by budding stand-up comics
- Uploading Videos
There were many working professionals that I came across who had dreams of becoming stand-up comedians some day but didn’t know where or how to begin. YouTube was the major factor to contribute to the success of stand-up comedians in India. Putting up a video on this platform by Google is absolutely free. All they have to do is get a friend to record their act and upload it. Just a click of a button makes it available to such a wide audience. In this way they can amass a lot of subscribers and followers thus gaining popularity. Suddenly, there is a simpler way for them to achieve their stand-up dreams.
- Creating diverse content
The increase in the viewership for comedy prompted people to explore a variety of content. It also gave full freedom to the comedian on the type and subject for the content. This gave the comedian independence to fully explore their potential.
- Expand To Other Platforms
With the rise of video platforms all over the internet like Vimeo and DailyMotion and not to forget FaceBook Live and Instagram stand-up comics have a way to showcase their talent through multiple platforms. Owing to the different set of audience that each video platform enjoys, one is unaware of which platform may work and which may not. Spreading your content over multiple platforms helps maintaining a constant online presence.
- Vernacular Content
The increase in Smartphone and internet users has given rise to more consumers of video content in regional languages in India. As a result the demand for regional content has also risen. The numerous talented comedians whose only struggle was the English language have also been presented with loads of opportunities. The following image shows the trend is going beyond just Hindi and spreading over other regional languages as well.
These video streaming platforms have revolutionized the comedy scene in India.They have become the medium through which a comedian through any language can get the exposure that, a few years back they could not have even dreamt of. Video Platforms have helped Indian comedians increase their popularity all over India. They have also proved that language is no bar when it comes to comedy.