Doing something on the spot, without preparing beforehand, in front of a huge crowd can be a tough task to say the least but for a group of skilled and determined I, improv comedy is like a walk in the park. Not really because it seems easy to them but mostly because they love to see people laugh and enjoy a good time with their friends and family. Pakistan Tehreek E Comedy is taking the entertainment world by storm by introducing something as refreshing and as raw as improv-standup comedy especially in a place like Lahore where people don’t really care about anything else but food.
We caught up with one of the most dedicated and main actors of the team to ask about PTC, its concept, philosophy, the challenges they faced and what they hope to achieve in the near future.
Who was the main man behind Pakistan Tehreek E Comedy?
This is the brain child of Shah Fahad. Shah Fahad was doing improvisational comedy beforehand as well so he was fairly experienced in this field. He eventually came up with PTC. One after another people started joining our team and before we knew it, our team was complete and PTC was up and running.
How did all of the actors come together?
We were initially a group of individuals from different universities having similar interests and a common passion. All of us decided to share a common stage and show off our skills.
Is there some sort of an audition for new actors who want to participate in the comedy show?
I wouldn’t say we do auditions but rather our team members select who they think is better for them. We scout for comedians by watching different plays and events and handpick the comedians suitable for our team.
What is the main philosophy behind PTC and what do you guys hope to achieve from it?
PTC looks to provide a healthy entertainment for friends and families from all walks of life. We want to give the audience a sort of comedy that is both genuinely funny and lesson oriented. Improvisational comedy is very new in Lahore. We hope to promote this sort of comedy that is likely to woo the audience. So far we are growing at a decent pace and hope to do so in the future as well.
Who writes all the scripts and skids? How long does it take to practice for one show?
I along with Shah Fahad write these scripts. It’s a long and painstaking process but somehow we end up with good pieces every time.
Why did you feel the need for introducing Pakistan Tehreek E Comedy?
We wanted to bring something new to the scene. People have started to get bored of the stage dramas and the TV shows have become somewhat monotonous as well. Improvisational comedy at such a stage is very raw and new and something that the audiences enjoy. So when we thought of introducing PTC, we were looking for originality which I think we have achieved successfully.
What main challenges did you face in the early stages of the show?
For improv comedy to grow in a place like Lahore was in itself a challenge which we have started to overcome over time. Other than that we wanted our audience to grow and diversify which wasn’t really happening initially. To change that we altered our marketing strategy and soon with the help of social media we were able to reach to a wider audience.
How has the overall response been with respect to the audience as well as the profits/finances?
Honestly, it has not been overwhelming as far as the finances are concerned but now things have started to flow in the right direction. Till now, we have reached the stage where we break even in every show but with what lies ahead we can really overcome that as well.
What are some things that go into the making of a genuinely funny script?
The perspective of the author matters a lot. The more keenly the author observes the situation he is writing about, the more hold he has over the fun element relating to it. Comedy can be extracted from literally anything as long as you see things that way. Other than that, for something to be funny, the relatability factor is very crucial. You can’t joke about Pakistani politics in the US. Similarly you can’t talk about something like donkey meat in Quetta since it is referred usually to Lahore. So that is how it is done.
What has been the most memorable show so far?
There have been many but I would say the one that was held at FAST University was very memorable for me especially because of the response we got.
Does PTC aim to do shows out of Lahore as well? What’s next for PTC?
Absolutely. We’re taking things step by step and hopefully we’ll be able to go to places like Karachi, Faisalabad, Islamabad, Gujranwala and beyond. PTC aims ultimately to become a regular TV show in the near future.
Source Images: www.facebook.com/tehreekecomedy