India — To uplift the spirit of those in distress amid the pandemic, stand-up comedians are coming together for some laughter therapy with online performances and sessions. From interacting on daily basis with those quarantining and recovering from Covid-19, or conducting shows solely for frontline workers, these artistes are spreading happiness, one smile at a time.
Take, for instance, stand-up comic Amit Tandon, who recently took to Twitter and announced his new session #TalkPositive where he’s connecting with people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are in quarantine. Sharing the idea behind the initiative, which has no money involved, he says, “We have been locked up for a while… I realised people just want to talk, be heard.” His session involves “light-hearted conversations, jokes” and he says he has been seeing people encouraging each other with their recovery.
Such efforts are not just for patients, but also medical staff, who are playing a key role in battling the ongoing pandemic. Another comic, Anshu Mor, who has been doing paid online shows for a while, also felt the urge to help people in the present situation. “Looking at the cases every day, one tends to wonder, ‘How can I help? I thought I can make someone laugh,” he shares, talking about For You, With Love, his 60-minute free online show for doctors and nurses. He adds, “I will make a schedule depending on their availability. Even if there are just two-three people, I’ll perform and provide them some comic relief.”
The endeavours to reach out to those in need have also inspired fellow comics Garv Malik and Uddhav Parab, who opened their daily 10pm shows to front-line warriors (including police force, journalists and health personnel), after Tandon’s message.
Malik says, “We have been doing it for some time, but we got more inspired by Amit sir. We have reached out to frontline workers. We’ll go on as long as the crisis doesn’t get better. Viewers might get bored seeing one artiste daily, so we have got many on board on rotating basis.”
While many have taken the initiative to provide some cheerful moments to those impacted by the pandemic, comedian Gurinder Singh, who himself was recovering from the virus for three weeks, didn’t let it dampen his spirit. He says, “Even while I had tested positive, I continued to do what I do – making jokes and making people laugh through online shows. It also helped me to keep myself occupied as everybody’s going through testing times.”