Comedian Sapan Verma knows he isn’t going to please everyone, and he’s alright with that.
Acclaimed on stage and online - you can find his work on Amazon Prime and YouTube - he says for every 10 comments on his videos about five will be hateful.
But the Mumbai comedian, who is in Bengaluru for this weekend’s comedy festival, says the “troll” comments are just part of human nature.“You will have people who do and don’t like your work,” Sapan says.
“When you put something online sometimes people will have a comment. I’ve been doing it (comedy) for a while so I don’t really care about it.”
Sapan’s been on stage and screen as a comedian for nearly 10 years, after getting his start at open mic events for fun.
Revelling in the success of his humorous hobby, within two years he’d managed to turn comedy into a full-time career.
He is also a member of the ‘East India Comedy’ entourage of funny men which includes stand up and musical material. They will be showcasing new songs at this weekend’s festival.
Comedy is a job he relishes. “It’s not something you know until you give it a try,” he says.
“Stand up comedy is so free-spirited. There’s nobody telling you what you can and can’t speak about. You get to travel to different cities and make people laugh. People are coming to you looking for laughter and happiness,” he says.
The industry has changed a lot since Sapan started out. There are more comedians and gigs available, including local material, and there’s more demand for their work overseas.
“Currently Mumbai has at least two to three open mics every night. When I started there was one a month and if you were lucky you got a spot for five minutes.
“More and more we’re going abroad and getting a great response. Globally we’re now seeing a lot more voices than just 10 guys from America.”
However, along with negative comments online, there are plenty of challenges involved in maintaining a career in comedy, he says. That includes writing material and attracting audiences to live shows. People think it comes instantly but you have to work really hard every day at writing jokes. “There are so many options for people, especially with Netflix and Amazon Prime. People prefer sitting at home and watching their laptops.”
Hosted by Comedy Wagon, Bengaluru Comedy Festival runs from November till 25 and will showcase more than 50 Indian and international artists. Sapan is performing in the East India Comedy showcase at St John’s auditorium on November 18 at 7.30pm.