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Sapan Verma: What is comedy if you don’t go out of your comfort zone?

'One Mic Stand' returned with its second season and has been getting a lot of positive response from the connoisseurs of humour.

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Prime Video’s popular show, ‘One Mic Stand’ returned with its second season and has been getting a lot of positive response from the connoisseurs of humour. Sapan Verma, India’s celebrated comic artiste is the brain behind ‘One Mic Stand’ as he takes the seat of the show creator, showrunner and show host.

While the first season was more about exploration and testing the waters for such a concept, ‘One Mic Stand 2’ is more about pushing the boundaries and setting the benchmark a notch higher.

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In an exclusive chat, Sapan Verma spoke about what goes into putting together a show like ‘One Mic Stand’, how the show helped him evolve as an artiste, how he aims to give back something to the art of comedy and how humour can find its inspiration from the most unusual things.

Verma explains the core idea behind the show as he mentions, “When we get any celebrity on the show, our objective always is to make them comfortable on stage and let them be themselves on stage. We don’t want to feed lines or content. It’s their story, they have to talk about it. Of course, we have writers who help write the set, but it is always their (celebrities’) story.”

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The essence for a good comedy lies in diversity, and that’s where ‘One Mic Stand’ as a show derives its strength from, as Sapan says, “If I do (only) smart humour or slapstick, it’ll become very one dimensional. The idea is to get five very different voices and different personalities”.

While the comic has given his heart and soul to give India one of its most loved shows, ‘One Mic Stand’ has helped him too in many ways in terms of learnings and experiences. Commenting on the same, he shares, “One Mic Stand works beautifully for me because I’m involved in every process; be it scripting, costumes, the set, edit, sound, music or packaging. I love that part of it, I have learned so much. It takes a huge team. This would help me because I like doing this, I would like to create more shows in the future.”

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For him, just putting your head down and working to the best of your capabilities helps any artform evolve, he says, “Everybody who’s doing good work is contributing to the scene and the industry in their own way. You don’t have to especially carve out a special time or do something exclusively for the scene.”

“Amit Tandon went to the US five years ago, did shows for NRIs and opened up the full market for all of us. A Zakir Khan or a Prashasti Singh going to tier 2 and tier 3 cities, an industry is getting created that way,” he adds.

When asked about how he plans to give it back to the medium of comedy, Sapan had a very profound take on the subject, “You can do small little things as comedians, you can give chance to new talents, like whichever city I go to, there is always an opening act and I’ve started paying for the opening acts, even if it’s a small amount, but to give them the chance and to promote the local scene.”

When quizzed about how he views the relationship of thrill, chaos and discomfort, Sapan says, “Those three words describe my experience of working on the show. There was a lot of chaos when we were shooting. Excitement and thrill, you need that for any art form otherwise you tend to stagnate. Chaos, I think it just makes you a better person when you come out of it, maybe. I think the only thing is to learn, to become better out of it and to write a very funny set about it”.

“Discomfort, well, what is comedy if you don’t go out of your comfort zone, standup is a little bit getting out of the comfort zone. Doing something like ‘One Mic Stand’ for me, was getting out of my comfort zone and working with a bunch of comedians. So I think all of them (chaos, thrill and discomfort) make you better in the long run. I think the beauty of comedy is like, you can convert the good, bad, ugly everything from your life into a funny side and have a very good, funny set,” Sapan concluded.

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