Comedy during Covid times

Viswaraj Mohan

Chennai: With CounterCulture Comedy Club successfully completing one year in Chennai, its founder Viswaraj Mohan says they are planning to open seven-10 clubs in the coming years. Excerpts from an interview:

How was the journey and did you get the expected response?

We had some challenging but honest aims while setting up the CounterCulture Comedy Club in Chennai. Our idea was to create a permanent address for comedy in the city, one that encourages and welcomes a dedicated audience and can also become a reliable platform for the best emerging and established comedy artists, especially local talent. On all these counts the people of Chennai have been very supportive. The fact that we programmed more than 250 live stand-up shows in a year says something on that note.

Using regional language has become a trend now. How did people react the first time they heard about CounterCulture Comedy Club?

Our first show started selling tickets even before we announced our club to the people. I’d call that positive response.

What are the fun packed future plans of Counterculture?

We plan to open seven-10 clubs in the coming years. Currently we are constructing the Hyderabad and Ahmedabad venues.

Comedy unites people all over. CounterCulture has helped Tamilians to connect but what about the others?

There is no ‘others’ for us per se. We are an entertainment-focused company and are being heterogeneous is our way. Currently, the available talent for a multi-format club is difficult, so we are working on the supply side differently. As mentioned above, we are opening in multiple locations and the spread will help us get more horizontal in our offering. Let’s say we take it location by location.

Stage shows and other art forms are said to be slowly dying since the arrival of digital shows such as web series. Why haven’t you taken it to digital?

We have been in the business for nine years and during this time have seen a keen rise of gigs in multi-x. Some of the biggest international acts have passed through India in the recent years, and you’d have noticed the total rise in the number of influencers from the country as well.

While this interest develops alongside, unfortunately, our country does not have enough clubs to turn it into a habit. That’s what we are trying to do and are being extremely bullish about. Venues are enablers in a sense, you need them for the ecosystem to rise from there. You think there would be such an OTT boom without better Internet?

Is there any chance of CounterCulture entering into OTT platforms?

Maybe a plan or two somewhere up the line.



NT Bureau