Comedy is the new coffee for many Indians

Wondering what a growing number of Indians are doing at seven every morning, apart from getting ready for work? They are trying to have a good laugh. With rising stress levels, comedy is the new coffee for many Indians, who are hooked on to their smart devices.

“Our viewers in India (61%) are the most likely to watch comedy ahead of their global counterparts (44%),” said a Netflix spokesperson.”In general, comedy sees a 34% increase in viewing at 7 am.”

To capitalise on this hunger for guffaws, Netflix and rival Amazon Prime have spawned a glut of comedy specials with local artistes, catapulting them to stardom and upgrading their pay cheques.

“After a stand-up comedian stars in a special on a large streaming platform, his or her market value goes up by at least 2x,” said Ajay Nair, COO at Only Much Louder, which has inked a deal with Amazon Prime Video for 14 stand-up specials.

Although, Nair did not share the details of the deal, a leading stand-up comedian said Indian artistes are paid anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 3 lakh for a stand-up act at a corporate show.

“Let’s just say, if I was selling around 300 tickets for my show before the gig with Amazon, I am now selling more than 500,” said 42-year-old stand-up comedian Anuvab Pal, who has bagged a special, Alive at 40, on Amazon Prime Video.

Tickets can cost between Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 with comedians such as Zakir Khan selling more than 10,000 of them a month for offline shows. While one in every 10 Amazon Prime customers watch comedy , Nitesh Kripalani, Amazon Prime Video India director and country head, said it is one of the most watched genres in the country .

“Although it’s still early days for comedy in India, the reach streaming platforms provide is phenomenal. After Vir Das’s special was aired on Netflix, he received feedback from viewers from as far as Argentina,” said Aditi Mittal (popular Indian stand-up comedian), who cut a deal with the company last month. “We finally have found our voice.”