Laughter is not just the best medicine, it’s good for one’s pocket too. The increasing band of stand-up comedians will vouch for this as big corporate houses and even start-ups are hiring them with good offers to lift employees' mood in their offices, besides creating brand value.
Companies like Nestle India, Amazon, leading mobile and data solutions provider Matrix, Muthoot Group among others, are scouting for good comedians to promote their brand activities through television commercials and giving live performances at their corporate get-togethers. Besides stage shows, stand-up comedians are called for corporate events, dealer meetings, script and content development for brands, columns in magazines and even for weddings, house parties and bachelor parties.
Salaries offered to these comedians are attractive. Once established, a comedian can earn Rs 20-30 lakh a year. A little-known stand-up comedian can bill Rs 5,000-20,000 for a show, while a popular one can get corporates to cough up Rs 1 lakh or more.
Stand-up comedians such as Vir Das, Hussain Dalal, Angad Singh, Sorabh Pant, Rohan Joshi and Amit Tandon have been hired by companies for brand promotions, content development and script writing.
Probably, the best example of a company using a stand-up comedian for brand promotions was initiated by Nestle India in September 2014. It engaged Dalal to promote Nescafe Coffee, where he portrayed the role of a struggling stand-up comedian who stammers. "The biggest strength of a stammering comedian is…suspense,” Dalal said in the advertisement. The advertisement ends with, “Thank god for coffee. It kept me go..go…going and kept you a…a…awake.” The advertisement not only created laughter but also evoked empathy among viewers about mocking people who are speech-impaired.
Comedians bring out humour from day-to-day activities. They perform satire on politicians, technology, traffic, culture, and the like and use ‘Hinglish’ to create the punch in their performances.
"Humour as a route to communicate the brand’s message makes a lasting impact. These comedian artists deliver the right message with the right humour," said Balbeer Singh, who conducts comedy shows in and around the Capital.
“It’s a tough job and doing public shows isn’t enough to sustain a family. One has to look for other day jobs," said Atul Khatri, who started doing stand-up comedy three years ago and quit his day job with an IT company in Mumbai. He now earns handsomely by doing shows for companies.
Mumbai-based comedian Angad said, "We are constantly active on social networks. The more fans or followers we get provides an edge for casting directors to give us a break.”