Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The comedy we do is never meant to hurt anyone: Venu Tillu

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Get ready to witness Aha’s first-ever full-blown comedy show Comedy Stock Exchange, which will premiere on December 2. The Pioneer sat down with the comedians to  know more about the show, and also about the art of comedy.

Amartya Smaran

The Telugu audience has always been supplemented with good comedy shows like the decade old Jabardasth. Shows like Patas, Adhirindhi, and Comedy Stars have also managed to create a good impact on the audience. With the rise of OTT platforms, there has been ample scope for all kinds of content and it looks like the OTT giant AHA is not holding back, when it comes to mass producing quality content  to reach out to a wider audience.

One such endeavour of AHA is, Comedy Stock Exchange is gearing up to tickle the funny bones of the Telugu audience from December 2. The theme of the show entails three rounds where the contestants are judged by the audience based on their performance. As the title of the show suggests, the comedians are considered to be stocks. Therefore, the value of these stocks like the real ones keep fluctuating as per their performance.

Innovative much? That’s not it! F2 fame Director Anil Ravipudi will be seen as the “Chairman”(judge) who is solely going to be responsible for deciding the theme of the episode which applies to all the three rounds.The show will be moderated by Sudigali Sudheer who’s riding high on the success of his latest feature film Gaalodu.

The Pioneer sat down with comedians Venu, Avinash, Saddam, Yadamma Raju and Bhaskar to find out more about Comedy Stock Exchange. Not only did the comics make us chuckle with their witty replies, but also gave their honest opinion about the television and OTT comic scene in the Telugu states.  

Now that the show is inclusive of stand-up comedy, we thought it’d be appropriate to ask the comedians as to why there is no market for Telugu stand up comedy when compared to the Hindi or English contemporaries. To this, they replied, “It is really difficult to come up with material for stand-up comedy. You have to face a live audience and make them laugh successfully for a long time. One can’t take the liberty of cutting away and starting all over again. If you bomb, you bomb and that’s about it. One must have an extraordinary grip over the craft to succeed in the stand-up format. However, after a long time, we have come up with a show that is going to create a new perspective of stand up comedy for the audience. When it comes to roasting, although we tried it out in Patas, we think it is important to stick to our roots. It is not a good thing to mimic the west completely as we have our ethics and  values. As long as the comedy is within a limit and the intentions of the comedian is just to make the other person laugh, that is good. We are growing with time and as working comedians we’re sure that the industry will see a great change in the coming future.”

In one way or the other, almost all the comedians on the panel have been associated with the most popular comedy show Jabardasth. The show was at its zenith in 2014, and it still continues to have a dedicated set of audience tuning in to watch the show. However, over the years, the show has received criticism for its portrayal of women or the constant usage of double entendre.

Responding to this, senior comedian Venu said, “Our only intention is to make people laugh and out of the thousands of skits that have been aired since a decade. I am sure only a tiny fraction of those skits might have unintentionally hurt someone. In my opinion, it is very difficult to write comedy and sometimes it is only inevitable to hurt people unintentionally. I would like to request everyone to concentrate on the positive aspects of the comedy shows and have fun with it. What we do is never meant to hurt anyone.” What makes a comedian special is that they all have this fantastic ability to turn a rather dull situation into an amusing one with humour. Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, and Harold Lloyd possessed an incredible knack for making people laugh without saying a single word, of course until the talkies came into the picture. We wondered if any of the team leaders ever had one of those “Woah! I can make people laugh” moments.

“A comedian is just like any other human being. We are all usually quite silent at home. We don’t always do funny things. Just because we’re comedians, we don’t have to be doing funny stuff all the time. It’s just that each of us have our own instincts. For example, in a gang of friends, there is always that one friend who manages to make the entire gang laugh out loud. When people say things like “the party isn’t the same without you”, “you are naturally funny” and stuff like that, that’s when we start recognising our comedic instincts,” collectively expressed the panel.

All the comedians on the panel seemed extremely excited talking about the show and also how eagerly they are looking forward to finding out what the audience has to say about the concept.

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