Around a decade ago a Stand-up comedy act was unheard to Indian audience. Comedians from Bollywood like Johnny Lever or from TV shows like Raju Shrivastava who based their act primarily on mimcry or slapstick humour ruled the roost. But then things changed. Russell Peters started appearing on YouTube and he created frenzy by his racially laced ruthless comedy. Comedy Store came to India spawning an upmarket audience eager to pay top buck for a taste of international comedy acts. As the demand for creative and off-beat entertainment is soaring, new age comedy groups like The Viral Fever(TVF) and All India Bakchod (AIB) have taken entertainment circuit way above the roof! This massive churn of creative content has grabbed not just eyeballs of the masses but also of brands.
The Viral Fever (TVF), widely known for Pitchers and Qtiyapa rose from adversity. Arunabh Kumar, founder of TVF and an IIT-ian waded from an unhappy career in aerospace in Mumbai to working as an assistant director in the adult humour comedy film Delhi Belly. He faced a lot of rejection when he tried to sell Engineer’s Diary, his first independent comedy video to popular channels and entertainers. It was only when he published it on YouTube as a last resort, did he taste success and become the creator of the second most watched entertainment video of the week. Since its founding in 2010, TVF has become a 100-person outfit with businesses such as TVF-ONE (Online Network for Entertainment), Branded Entertainment, TVF Live, Production Labs, Drama and Play.
AIB has over 1.2 million subscribers to their YouTube channel in a span of just 3 years. Co-founded by Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba along with Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya, AIB specializes in real time communication laced with sarcasm inciting awareness among their young audiences. Its videos such as Alia Bhatt Genius of the Year, Rape — It’s Your Fault, Dhoom 3 Parody and The Great Indian Media Circus have all been smash hits online. AIB, like TVF is largely popular among young viewers because of their unique, crisp and unapologetic content that’s refreshingly different from the unimaginative entertainment provided by run-of-the-mill television shows and movies.
The connect TVF and AIB have made with their viewers has brands turning up at their doorstep to create branded content which is a meaty mashup of kickass comedy and brand proposition. TVF tied up with many brands along with online realty startup Common-Floor, and gave us the popular video series of “permanent roommates”. AIB along with Xbox One, made a hilarious account about the stark difference between the Mario age of gaming and the present gen Xbox gaming. These standup comedy groups are consciously moving in direction of becoming digital creative agencies, where the buck lies.
Applying the stand-up comedy mantra to photography
Photographers can a take a leaf out of these comedy groups. They should invest their creative efforts, time and money in creating unique and original body of work that exudes their independent vision. I believe photographers should think of themselves as creators of visual content that appeals to a specific target group. Let’s say a photographer clicking awesome images of rock climbers and thus making a niche for himself. See my post on Re-visioning Photography to learn of some great work being done by photographers with an independent vision. Ultimately, it’s when you create an identity for certain type of work that you attract brands to leverage your style and uniqueness.
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