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Friyan Dossabhoy


Change of an Era: Rise of Stand-up Comedy in India

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5 months ago
5 months ago
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From Raju Srivastava and Johnny Lever to Biswa Kalyan and Zakir Khan, stand-up comedy in India has been sensational. Over the past few years, comedy has been evolving and taking its pace to a higher level. YouTube and Facebook being the platforms, the new generation is capable of accessing these stand-up comedians.

Source- The Park's New Festival

This genre has now turned into an entire industry as a part of the Indian entertainment and is believed to be the most successful form of comedy.

Even with a strength of billion people in this country, India did not have enough stand-up comedians initially. But today it has gained so much popularity that the craze doesn't seem to end any sooner.

Comedy Circus and Comedy Nights with Kapil has now modernized to stand-up comedy. Comedians would talk to the audience rolling with laughter and leave the decision to judges. But now times have changed and so has the concept.

Earlier, famous comedians like Vir Das, Cyrus Broacha and Papa Cj would talk on Indian themes and Western style but now they reckon on satires and opinions. Now there are no restrictions to a particular topic, the comedians can talk on anything and everything provided it hurts no sentiments.

The first comedy club opened in Mumbai in 2009 which was later named as Canvas Laugh Club. While the comedy clubs were yet to come, ‘funny men’ like Vir Das would perform at cafés, pubs and open mic nights. International stand-up acts (like by Russell Peters) on television was the main influence.

Then came the Comedy Store in 2010 which opened at Palladium. Mumbai was chosen as the first Indian venue because everybody knows it is the perfect city for upcoming comedians, live performances and improv scenes.

Source- Buzzfeed

In 2010, artists like Tanmay Bhatt and Gursimran Khamba, Pant and Kunal Rao were coming up, that later resulted in collaborations like All India Bakchod (AIB) and East India Comedy (EIC). This year was just the beginning for more comedians like Rohan Joshi and Anubhav Pal who chose stand-up as their career.

By 2011, most of the young generation got inspired and began spending more time for stand-up. Collectives like EIC and Weirdass started writing for movie award shows like IIFA and the Filmfare awards.

YouTube helped most of the video-sharing websites including the individual performers. Since the new generation comedians have come up with revolutionary ideas that had a bit of humour and almost decent use of language, there was no chance that Indian television would approve censorship to pass. Hence, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook turned out to be the best platforms for the same. It was noticed that videos that were shared from Monday to Wednesday would run better than on weekends. The videos now include product promotions as well.

Laughter has proved to be good politics and a mode of entertainment for the middle class. Not just this, stand-up has proven to spread awareness of certain issues that actually has a great impact on the generation today.

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