Can Bangladeshi Comedians do better?
Making people laugh is hard, especially at a time when many people's happiness is based on the premise that things could have been a lot worse. Comedians are artists in their own right, and with the meteoric rise of OTT platforms, this art of making people laugh is as popular now as ever.
I, personally, love watching comedy specials, especially those featuring Asian comedians. As a self-proclaimed comedy connoisseur, it is hard not to draw comparisons. The stand-up comedy scene in Bangladesh is still in its early stages, and with the arrival of young talents, the industry does show a lot of promise. Yet, many would agree that Bangladeshi comedians aren't quite up there with their other Asian counterparts.
Comedy specials are OTT platforms' bread and butter, and like everywhere else, OTT platforms are gaining extreme popularity in Bangladesh. Yet, comedy specials featuring Bangladeshi comedians on these OTT platforms are virtually non-existent. Are Bangladeshi comedians simply not good enough, or are there other reasons behind this absence of stand-up comedy shows?
Solely blaming the comedians would be pretty harsh. Given the lack of sponsors, venues and other limitations to monetising the art of making people laugh, young Bangladeshi comedians often struggle to gain ground, and newer talents hesitate to step into the scene.
However, despite the subjective nature of comedy, the common consensus is that Bangladeshi comedians can do better. While some have carved out a niche for themselves and have gained popularity, the Bangladeshi comedy scene is far from being as successful as it is in the rest of the world.
Bangladeshi comedians have developed a brand of comedy that is very punch-line-oriented. The punch lines generate some laughter, and that's pretty much it. It goes something like this:
Comedian: Roses are red, violets are blue, your phone is smart, why aren't you?
On the flip side, comedians elsewhere choose to tell stories, often personal, to keep the audience engaged. The story has multiple humorous sides, and the comedian delivers it in a way that makes it funnier than it originally would have been.
The jokes coming out of comedy specials are often more memorable since they make you draw from your experiences, and as a result, the audience relates better to these jokes. I was watching Indian comedian Vir Das's comedy special Landing on Netflix the other day. It was a pure roller-coaster ride, and I thoroughly enjoyed the entirety of it. It really was what made me think about how Bangladeshi stand-up comedy is different.
Comedy is subjective, but most would agree that Bangladeshi comedians have a lot of room for improvement. Stand-up comedy is a booming industry around the world. For comedy to become a full-fledged industry rather than a budding scene here in Bangladesh, comedians have to do better in terms of the quality and relatability of their content. Once we have objectively funnier jokes, the rest might as well fall into place.
Bipra Prasun Das cracks lame jokes and thinks he is funnier than most. Prove him wrong by sending him memes and puns at [email protected]