HYDERABAD: There was a time when people used to unwind with friends at a stand-up comedy gig after a long day’s work. But things have changed over the year with everything going virtual. Stand-up comedians too have tried to come up with an alternative to cheer up audience by taking their gigs online. While trying their best to make people laugh out loud, they have come up with latest and relevant content.
Conducting shows over the weekends and sometimes even during weekdays, some city-based comedians share their experience of going completely online. Comedian Sandesh Jonny, who has been entertaining people with his shows throughout the pandemic, says, “When the cases briefly reduced, we decided to go offline for a few days. But now since the situation has worsened, we have started our virtual shows again. I think both the audience and we are getting used to this new format. At first, it took time for us to come to terms with the online shows,” he says.
Sandesh has written new content based on the pandemic but finds it hard to sustain as a full-time comedian. “We have gone through a lot during this pandemic and we have a lot to say about it. Now everyone does jokes on Covid, which has become the new normal. Sustaining offline was much easier as I was a full-time comedian. But now I had to take up a job,” he says.
Also, online shows are not enough for them so earn a living. “I do not think of making money through these Zoom shows, but aim to simply make myself better at it. I am treating this period as a practice. The time is compromised and I do less comedy than before,” Sandesh, whose acts are mostly based on life’s happenings, says. He is not upset about taking up a job as it gives him plenty of content to write about.
Sai Kiran, known for his south Indian jokes, says now everyone has got used to the virtual format of stand-up comedy.
“When people were doing offline shows in October last year, when the situation had eased out a bit, I was still doing Zoom shows. One advantage of virtual shows is that we can reach out to a wider audience, which is not possible when you have offline gigs as you cannot be in every city. There are virtual comedy clubs too, where comedians do shows every day. However, offline shows have their own charm, they bring out the best in you but we do not seem to have any other option now but for virtual gigs.”
Another artiste is Rohit Swain, who has been entertaining Covid warriors during these tough times.
“Last year everything was new to us. We are not used to sitting at home and doing shows on a computer, but in a couple of months we all settled in. Slowly, even companies started hiring us for their corporate meets. So far, it has been great with the online audience; they too have a mic and can interact with us during the show,”says Rohit, who along with another comedian does a show for Covid warriors every Wednesday and Saturday at 3:30 pm.
“It is a one hour show for anybody who is affected by the virus or any healthcare worker or caretaker. The response has been great and it is for free. Let me tell you about this one experience. I was doing a show and there was this one man who was watching from hospital, he had an oxygen mask on. He said he was feeling sad and hence tuned in. So a lot of people who are depressed are watching our shows,”he says.
Entertaining Covid warriors
Rohit Swain been entertaining Covid warriors during these tough times. “Last year everything was new to us. We are not used to sitting at home and doing shows on a computer, but in a couple of months we all settled in. Slowly, even companies started hiring us for their corporate meets. So far, it has been great with the online audience; they too have a mic and can interact with us during the show,”says Rohit, who along with another comedian does a show for healthworkers