The rains are here — if there’s one thing Chennaiites agree on, it’s tucking into bed with a good ol’ cuppa coffee and a laptop. Thankfully for us, the Internet is a great source of entertainment and a laugh riot, with innumerous humour channels devoted to namma ooru.
If you’re looking for an example, Madras Meter’s recent video Google Avatharam, is sure to tickle your funny bone. From Rahul Gandhi to Thalaivar — it hilariously shows the popular search engine Google as different people. Let’s not stop there — other channels include Enna da Rascalas, Paracetamol Paniyaram and even popular video blogs like the ones by Syed Mohsin or Saadiya Ali.
So what exactly is the reason behind this new trend? Could it be that popular hotels, cafés and pubs, which have been known to host open mics and comedy skits in the past, have begun to choose well-established and prominent comedians for their shows? It could be the reason that Kanan Gill’s show in the city recently sold out! Balaji Venugopal, creative head of Madras Meter and an RJ, has mixed views about this new trend. “I love stand-up comedy and other forms of humour as well.
The audience today, including myself, want instant laughs. So when I got to a show, I expect a basic quality in the humour. The brand of the comedian matters — that way, more tickets are sold. Of late, a lot of newcomers are being coupled with already established people during shows — people don’t mind that. This way, you get a holistic experience of sorts — from new people as well as the popular ones,” he says, adding that the comedy circuit is getting a lot of recognition.
“I do a lot of shows as an RJ and actor as well, but YouTube was a revelation. I never thought I’d be doing something like Madras Meter. It gives you so many opportunities. You can use n-number of talented people for a video,” he muses. For Jaytesh Sridhar of Paracetamol Paniyaram, calling established comedians is something organisers and hosts of events have to do.
We do have open mics in the city. Many of my friends have performed at a few places in the city like Lloyd’s, sometimes every week. But there is a difference in spectrum — there are a few people who encourage such acts in the city, but there are others who don’t understand comedy. We need to encourage the positive mentality. But the fact that people have started using the online medium is a great thing to have. It brings a lot of variety and new ideas to humour,” says Jaytesh.
Syed Mohsin, a popular VJ and video blogger, is pretty famous for his channel, where he performs humorous skits with his sister. While he doesn’t believe that open mics in Chennai aren’t welcoming, starting a YouTube channel is well-curated medium.
“I’m not a regular open mic-er, but from the third person’s perspective, I think Chennai’s scene is more than welcoming. I do believe that it gives fellow newcomers and professionals a chance,” he says. He adds that starting a channel is easy, yet consistence is the challenge, but it still has a lot of plus points that attract comedians. “One is usually an ‘all in all alaguraja’ at the beginning. It’s also safer and much more curated. You screw up a video, you can do it again and take care of it in post-production,” he says in conclusion....