When I was growing up, the only comedian I knew was Johnny Lever. Then came the era of Hera Pheri, Munna Bhai MBBS, Welcome, and other comedies. At no point did anyone outside the film and TV industry make it big in the field of humour.
Fortunately, that scenario has completely changed, and the only reason behind it is the growing popularity of the internet.
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All thanks to the exponential growth of YouTube channels like AIB, TVF, East India Comedy, BB Ki Vines, Being Indian, and the popularity of comedians like Zakir Khan and Biswa Kalyan Rath, in the last few years, we don't have to rely on just Bollywood comedy anymore. Indeed, the millennial generation has taken humour to all new heights.
Earlier, the only career one could dream of in the humour field was that of standup comedian. Aspiring comedians were invited to events to crack jokes and made people laugh. The ones with good contacts in the industry were able to get cameo roles in movies every now and then. But most of them struggled a lot to make ends meet.
However, in today's internet-led era, when a toddler gets to operate an iPad even before learning to walk properly, the life of comedians has become a lot easier than before. Now they can create Facebook pages and YouTube channels to keep in touch with their audience and interact with them whenever they like. Most importantly, they don't have to beg for a good opportunity from anyone.
For comedian YouTubers, making money has become a by-product of living a life on their own terms. When it comes to earnings, many of them make more money than even IIT/IIM graduates. YouTube's most popular comedy channel, AIB, garners more than 143 million views and earns around $120,000-220,000 every month. Its co-founder, Tanmay Bhatt, was recently included in Forbes list of Richest Celebrities of the Year, joining the likes of Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan.
Another comedian who has made a name for himself in the last one year is Bhuvan Bam. The 22-year-old Delhiite runs a satirical YouTube channel called BB Ki Vines. Bhuvam has over 1.5 million YouTube subscribers and makes around $16,000-60,000 from doing what he likes most – comedy.
TVF, probably the second most prominent YouTube channel in India after AIB, has over two million followers and earns between $120,000-200,000 from Google ads. Now, it has launched a unique concept wherein users can watch premium content by paying a nominal monthly subscription fees.
Yes, YouTube has made humor an aspiring career choice in India!
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