City-based stand-up comedian Vikram about using virality as a path to success
The Chennaiite also opens up to Indulge about his career cracking jokes and his upcoming international tour
Chennai-based Vikram Arul Vidyapathi is known for his viral performances on social media through Vikkals. But there is another side to him wherein he is a stand-up comedian who performs shows under the banner Vikkals of Vikram and the latest edition of the show is scheduled to take place this weekend.
Also read: ‘It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it’: Abijit Ganguly on stand-up comedy
We caught up with the engineer-turned-law graduate to know more about his show and Vikram as a person, and a minute into the conversation, he openly admits that him entering the world of stand-up comedy was purely accidental. "In 2018, I was doing law and I used to assist my friends who are writers by taking part in their discussions. It was a writer friend of mine who suggested that I give it a go. Since I had years of experience performing theatre, I tried stand-up and I liked the attention. There has been no looking back since," he says.
But to be able to reach a vast audience pool, he had to resort to building his popularity on social media. Vikram says, "Although my show Vikkals of Vikram has been a quality one right from the get-go, its growth can be attributed to how I utilised the virality of Vikkals which was launched in 2019. I cashed in on Vikkals' popularity."
Having gained popularity, Vikram says, he now speaks about topics like religion, casteism, sexism, LGBTQIA++ at his shows and wants his audience to come to his shows with an open mind. "My comedy is for the current generation, for it is modern and it is this generation that is more tolerant when it comes to comedy that is offensive. There will be people who will get offended nonetheless, but as more stand-up shows happen, people will get used to the format," he explains.
His experience doing stand-up has also taught him how to deal with hecklers. "When I began doing stand-up, if I encountered a heckler, I will panic and try to deliver a joke to counter it. In that state of mind, one cannot crack jokes. I learnt that the trick is to condition one's mind to keep calm no matter the odds. This comes with practice. Once you get into that mindset, dealing with hecklers is easy," he states.
Over the years, Vikram has performed at several cities within Tamil Nadu, but he is planning something big this time. "I am going to begin my international shows. I'll be hitting Singapore, Malaysia, Oman, London, Dublin and Qatar and the tour will begin in August. I hope the Tamil audience living abroad like my content, for the producers have liked my work and are confident that it will be a crowd-puller," he reveals.
Lastly, we ask the 28-year-old if Tamil stand-up comedy will thrive in the years to come, to which he responds, "In 2018, there were one or two Tamil stand-up comics at open mic shows. But things have changed in the past four-five years. Now, when a person performs in Tamil, he or she gets more support and now is the right time to venture out, for Tamil is growing faster than English. The wave is turning."
On July 29. INR 399. 7 pm. At Music Academy, Chennai.