Stand up comedian Appurv Gupta turns a saviour, responds to Covid crisis
Comic Appurv Gupta aka Gupta ji who made us all crack up with his jokes has turned into a force of change. The Delhi-based standup comedian is mobilising his followers on social media and attending to SOS calls from people in this time of distress. Till now, as we speak, Appurv has arranged numerous beds, oxygen and medicines and has active volunteers working on a war footing. We speak with him to find out more. Excerpts:
Would you say that in today’s times, Social media is one of the strongest tools to help people?
I feel social media is being rightly used for the past week now. The messages that we are getting are being amplified and according to requirements, help is being extended. So, I think the right use of social media is happening now.
When did you realise that your social media accounts can help people in these trying times?
Last week, when a few of my shows got cancelled I saw a tweet that said what’s the use of the followers when it cannot be channelised in the right direction. That’s when it clicked me and I posted the same on my account and within a few days, there was a positive response. We have 25-30 volunteers and 3500 members in our Telegram group. The problem is big but we are still trying for the solution.
A lot of stand-up comedians are doing virtual shows free of cost to spread a smile during these stressful times, do you see this as a temporary change or do you feel virtual shows are here to stay?
I think virtual shows are not going anywhere. This lifestyle change has come about and the boundaries have been blurred. So, the cities where I cannot reach physically is being reached virtually. The ecosystem is different but it will definitely stay.
Being a comedian and more importantly an aware citizen, what do you feel about the current state of our country one year after the first wave hit us?
I feel that whatever scene is unfolding in front of us, our system has been exposed. We were not prepared and no one had imagined that for oxygens and beds there will be a struggle. We took the second wave lightly and once this gets over the government should focus on our health system so that we can be well prepared for another pandemic like this.
Are you planning to do any virtual comedy acts for the viewers, to give them a breather in this difficult situation?
I keep doing online shows for corporates and now I am focussing on helping people. At the moment I am not able to do online shows but they are in my pipeline. In fact, I have scheduled shows for doctors, once things get better.