‘Laughter is the best medicine.’ We all have had those breathless moments of tears rolling right down our cheeks while laughing. We cherish and re-live them over and over again. While growing up, comedy for us was defined by radiant clowns and little animated creatures tumbling on the floor. However, on giving a thought about its roots, comedy dates back to the 425 BCE, when an ancient comic playwright and satirical author of the ‘Ancient Greek Theatre’ came up with 40 comedies, out of which 11 have survived till today. Aristophanes developed his style of comedy from an earlier set of satyr plays.
The journey of comedy commenced at a time where it was cultivated as a hobby, whereas in the 21st century, it is pursued as a career. Having gone through a colossal growth, comedy has diversified into assorted genres. So, when we take a step back and have a glance at it, we are blessed with a privilege to pick what we wish to have a laugh about. The evolution of comedy has presented us with a much refined form of humour, which we all seem to relish. Humour has entwined itself into our lives to an extent, where in the absence of it, we may find ourselves stressfully traipsing about our lives.
Over the centuries, the comic world has delivered exceptional works by highly talented comedians. To begin with we have the master of silent comic films, Charlie Chaplin and our personal favourite Mr. Bean. Some others include Mark Twain, Max Miller, Bob Hope, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Johnny Lever, Mehmood, Shakthi Kapoor and Kovai Sarala. We have come a long way from the classics to the new age trend of stand-up comedy.
Stand-up comedy is a comic style in which a comedian performs in front of a live audience, usually speaking directly with them. They have a ‘set’ that comprises humorous stories and jokes typically called a monologue. Comedy clubs, pubs, bars and nightclubs are the modern day substitute for plays, songs and ballads. This period of stand-up has produced spontaneous artists like Kenny Sebastian, Kanan Gill, Vir Das, Sorabh Pant, Ricky Gervais, and many more. The budding interest seen in stand-up is challenging, due to a plain fact that it is, indeed an exigent task to be able to crack up a massive audience in peals of laughter.
In the month of July 2018, Amazon Prime Video produced a reality show ‘Comicstaan’ starring the best of Indian comedians as judges. The show began with the aim of guiding the best of fresh faces in stand-up comedy. The show provides an in-depth insight about the various genres under stand-up comedy. Little did we know that these existed, until Comicstaan was available for streaming. Ranging from Alternative comedy, Improv, Topical, Sketch, Observational, ‘Comedy of terrors’ and Anecdotal comedy, each mentor is specialised in the above-mentioned genres under stand-up. In this show we can see how each and every one of the mentors come together to provide an opportunity for the upcoming, or as it was termed in the show ‘the next best comedian’ in India.
The path that was designated for the evolution of comedy was never thought about. The reason being, comedy or anything closely related to the art and skill that enables an individual to be gloriously confident and infect another individual to crack up hysterically was taken into consideration as a low-level job. Stand-up Comedy was never recognized as a concrete employment, back in time comical situations most often arose from mocking other individuals’ way of getting things done. It has only evolved from there and has given birth to numerous other types.
It most definitely is an unforeseen set of events where we have brought ourselves to encourage comedians to do what they are good at. We happen to view it as stress buster or as a merrymaking element of our remaining time here.Comedy and being comical is easier said than done. When narrowed it down, it all comes down to the right spectators being entertained by appropriate jokes by a suitable comedian with immaculate confidence, who is willing to not halt even when silence falls among their onlookers. Going back to where I started, comedy is not at all something to be looked down upon, because as the famous saying goes, ‘Laughter is the best medicine.’
Picture Credits : Bestsketchcomedy