'I owe everything to Internet'
Kenny Sebastian, who returns as a judge for ‘Comicstaan 2’, talks about the changes he is witnessing in the Indian comic scene , difference between web and television, and more
As Indian entertainment industry moves on the road of transformation – accepting new things, stand-up comedy has become the most liked 'medium of entertainment' for people of all ages.
This would not have been possible without the popular names like Zakir Khan, Neeti Palta, Biswa Kaylan Rath, and multi-talented youth icon Kenny Sebastian, who changed the face of stand-up comedy in the last few years.
Having done more than 500 shows and international tours, Sebastian has become a household name, and accredits his success to internet (Youtube). "I owe everything to internet. If it was not the internet, I would not have been who I am today," says the Indian comedian, who believes that web gives an amazing chance to showcase one's talent to the world.
As a young student of Grade 11, Kenny decided to try his hands in music, comedy and filmmaking, before finally choosing the field he was meant for.
"When I graduated from college and looked back at everything I have put my fingers into – stand-up comedy seemed the most fun," said Kenny, who primarily performs in English, and switches to Hindi sometimes for versatility in his gigs.
He gave his first stage performance at the age of 19 and hasn't stopped till date. It was his witty sense of humour, and brilliant comic timings that got noticed by Amazon Prime in 2017, as they produced an hour-long comedy special 'Chai Time with Kenny'. In 2018, when the web platform started their comedy reality show 'Comicstaan', he was chosen to be one of the judges. The show was loved by the audience so much that the second season was meant to come – with Kenny as a judge once again among the other famous comedians like Zakir Khan, Kaneez Surka, Neeti Palta, Sumukhi Suresh, Biswa Kaylan Rath, and Kanan Gill.
Drawing a comparison between two seasons of 'Comicstaan', the musician and comedian says, "Last year, it was the very first time when something like this was launched. So, everyone – judges, participants, the audience – were in the 'learning and exploring' phase. We were like 'we don't know what we have to do, let's learn from each other.' Whereas, seeing the progress in the second season, I feel everyone is like 'it is my time', it is really competitive now."
Kenny also informs that in the former season, the planning was missing, the makers did not know what next episode would look like. But this time, it is more planned.
"I think over the time, 'Comicstaan' has become big, and has caught so many eyeballs. All the contestants – winners, participants, everyone from the first season became famous. So, automatically the pressure on this year's participants is visible. Because they now know that people are watching them," he states.
The concept of reality shows primarily came from Television, but according to Kenny, there is a huge difference in the approach and treatment of this show (on the web).
"For majority of the show (Comicstaan), no one gets eliminated. There are only two eliminations in the entire show. But in Television, the TRP and numbers matter the most. You have to keep up the drama, thrill, keep eliminating and coming up with wild card entry rounds."
The comedy reality show has started on Amazon Prime from July 12, 2019.