With comedy shows making a return, we talk to some of Hyderabad's stand-up comedians about what to expect
Live concerts or comedy shows, Hyderabad’s cafes and lounges were once bustling with local artistes in the pre-pandemic days. The comedy scene in the city is a pretty new concept though. Just when our local comics had begun to do regular features at venues across the city, the lockdown was imposed. But that did not deter them as they made the most of social media and online platforms. After a gap of about seven months, the comedians are back in business.
In one of our interactions with the comics, we also got a chance to speak with Rajashekar, whose comedy is sure to leave you in splits. “On a personal note, the lockdown had been no different for me. I still performed twice a week on Zoom. Of course, we had to adapt to the new normal, which did take some time,” explains Rajashekar who also released a series of videos on his YouTube channel in the lockdown. Talking about experiences, here’s what he has to say about the post-pandemic live gigs format, “Although we have to take precautions and sell only limited tickets, I feel that the lockdown has given us exposure. More people recognise us and are attending our shows frequently."
Bhavneet might be just two videos old on his YouTube channel but is a regular across comedy stages in the city. His shows are hilarious and relatable. The comic says that he was petrified about going back to live sets, as the pandemic has not yet ended. “But the audience’s laughter makes all this effort count. It certainly felt like any Tom Hanks' movie, where the hero always gets redemption in the climax,” jokes Bhavneet speaking of his first live show, post-pandemic. He also adds that the Zoom shows gave a new dimension to comedy. “Quick thinking and instant joke-writing had to be made a part of our shows. But, if there is one thing that I have learnt from the lockdown it's that I respect the stage more than ever now. It is a privilege and I never want to miss out, because one does not know when it might be taken away."
Vivek Muralidharan, whose shows are on YouTube for everyone to watch, gets candid about Zoom shows and their aftermath. He jokes about his experience of getting back to the stage after a series of online shows, “During the live shows, I felt like Hrithik Roshan from Guzarish. It took me a couple of weeks of rigorous open mics to get back.” He goes on to talk about his lockdown experiences, elaborating, “I have become a strict disciplinarian now. I focus on my writing more than ever. And, I also help new faces in the circuit with their sets.”
Ashok Khatri, a 21-year old comic happens to be one of the youngest talents in the comedy circles. He shares his love for live gigs and says that they are best experienced when the performer is right in front of the audience. “We can interact more easily with the audience in live shows. The lockdown left us with no choice but to take our shows online. But, I am thrilled to be back on the stage.” The comic also explains how the comedy circuit in the city is not as big as it is in the other metropolitan cities like Mumbai or Bengaluru. “2019 was a great year for comedy. We were in fact on the brink of breaking out. But with the pandemic, everything came to a halt. The buzz died and now we again trying to rebuild everything scratch,” the comedian says.