KOCHI: Comedy Lounge, a Kochi-based forum comprising nearly 50 stand-up comedians, both men and women aged between 18 and 35 is easily one of the first stand-up comedy collectives in the state. Co-founded by Jubin Sunny, a former event manager and his friend Vinay Menon, literature professor and comedian based in Chennai, the group saw an influx of new participants after the second wave of Covid.
“I think the lockdown days made them chase their skills, that includes humour. Our aim is to help them establish themselves and find better venues for them for the art form across the state and beyond,” says Jubin. He added that his idea for Comedy Lounge happened when he noticed the struggles faced by immature stand-up artists when it comes to finding good platforms.
Apart from conducting offline and online gigs and weekly events, the team also brings experienced stand-up comedians including Vishnu Pai on board to nurture new talent. “Vishnu mentors the artistes. His international exposure, including performances in Oman and UAE, come in handy updating our young talents on the right tools to make people laugh. Grooming is important to avoid stage fear and instill confidence,” he says.
The collective also has Malayali comedians. “Earlier regional stand up comedians rarely had the chance to perform due to lack of venues. Comedy Lounge is making space for such eclectic performances in the state,” says Jubin. Jubin shares his disappointment in the way stand-up comedy is featured on television shows.
“What they show on TV is not real stand-up. Rather, it is tweaked to fit their style. Real stand-up comedy is interactive. It engages with the audience, reads from them and interprets their reactions. But the public is made to believe that slapstick comedy in movies is the real deal and this hinders the growth of stand up comedy in Kerala,” he says.
Jubin and his team have been holding regular successful stand-up events in Ernakulam. There is also a weekly online open mic on Thursdays. They are planning to hold an open mic in Thiruvananthapuram next month.