Behind the scenes of Humorously Yours with Vipul, Amit & Vaibhav
From exploring a love story in Permanent Roommates to entering the business world in Pitchers and encouraging you to take a road trip with your siblings through Tripling, The Viral Fever (TVF) has given us some great web series. Adding to this list is their latest series, Humorously Yours, which takes you behind the scenes of the life of a stand-up comedian.
Playing the central character is one of India’s best stand-up comedians Vipul Goyal while Amit Golani of Pitchers fame wears the director’s hat for this series. TVF’s series are also famous for their music, the credit of which goes to Vaibhav Bundhoo, who is also the cinematographer of the show.
We caught up with this eclectic mix of people to know more about the world of stand-up comedy, the making of this series, its music and more.
As a comedian, how have you grown over the years? How has the profession grown and changed since you started?
I think my growth is very evident from my first video, which was on Indian Gods around six years ago, to the one that recently went up. You will see the difference when you see the body language. The way I am in my first video is similar to what I am playing in Humorously Yours. At that time I was a shy, hesitant guy but over a span of time I gained confidence on stage. Now I have become confident about my content as well. With six years into the craft, you also have a better idea as to what will work; you become technically sound.
I have progressed from written content to spoken content. When I started I would write jokes, which is not the case now. Stand-up is a very personal medium, if you fake even a bit on stage, the audience will catch it. Your personality eventually sweeps in while you act.
Coming to the growth of comedy as a profession, I think it is brilliant right now. Today stand-up comedy is the oil sector of the entertainment industry.
The world of stand-up comedy is something that the younger generation is curious about
Would you call Humorously Yours fictitious or is it autobiographical?
There are two parts that are shown in the series – the professional and personal side. The professional side of the series is largely based on reality. Stories related to his career, for instance, the manager incident (from Episode 1) is inspired by real life.
On the other hand, the dal incident is not true, but it is quite relatable. The basic idea of showing it was how clueless men can be in the kitchen. It was a thought that we exaggerated into a scene because dal is an area where a good many people get confused, so that added more to the scene.
Is this your first time as an actor, how was the experience?
I was a clean slate; I surrendered to the director and did what he told me to. It was during the editing stage that I saw that the acting was good (laughs). I have acted before when Arunabh (Kumar) was struggling and I would play the lead in his short films. But then I went into the oil sector (of the entertainment industry). Once Arunabh started earning well, I came back (laughs).
Hope the show makes people realize the effort and struggle that goes into being a stand-up comedian
The name of the series is based on your venture Humorously Yours, why did you choose the same name for your web series?
It is not a registered company, we just have a website. Six years back a few of my friends and I named our group ‘Humorously Yours’ and that name stuck through. We did have other options for the title of the show, but we finally zeroed in on this. Plus, the name has a fake sincerity to it (laughs).
What was the starting point for Humorously Yours?
The whole idea for the show came about when we were pitching a story to a brand. Secondly, Vipul (Goyal) used to hang around when we used to write sketches and other shows. He used to have a lot of stories to tell us. There were quite a lot of real life incidents which he would exaggerate. We found those stories hilarious and if we loved them, we thought so would the audience. We got serious about it and got down to researching about the subject. During the research we realized that these experiences are common to the world of stand-up comedy. Every comedian at some point has had an issue with their manager and they prepare their material using their daily life. These kinds of stories are something that each comedian relates to.
The other thing is that the world of stand-up comedy is also something that the younger generation is pretty curious about. They are the ones who are going for comedy shows etc. So it became very obvious for us that we could build a show on this idea. That is how we got down to it and created the world of stand-up comedy by following Vipul’s stories.
Having directed TVF Pitchers, how different was the experience with Humorously Yours?
For me it was a new experience because for the first time I felt that I was involved in every aspect of the show. From conceptualization to writing to directing now even editing, I had to prove myself in all the departments. In Pitchers I was mainly responsible for the direction only but here I was the safety net for each department, so that was a huge pressure.
Thankfully we had planned everything and had taken our time. Previously, till the last moment we would be writing, there was no schedule and we were running behind deadlines. In Humorously Yours, for the first time, we wrote five episodes first, then sat down for narrations and then shot all the five episodes together. We even had acting workshops. So the process of making this show was very different and satisfying.
From the very start the music had to humble and un-pretentious because it is about the unglamorous side of the comedy business
Portraying the life of a stand-up comedian is something that has not been explored in the past, what do you hope for the audience to take away from the show?
Comedy as an industry is still in its early stages in India, therefore, a lot of people don’t have any set mindset about stand-up comedians. For them a comedian is still that person who comes in the movie and does some comedy. What I hope for people to take away from this show is that this (stand-up comedy) is something very interesting and new. I hope it makes people realize the effort and struggle that goes into being a stand-up comedian.
A cinematographer and a musician, it’s a rare combination, how did that happen and how challenging is to handle both the roles?
I loved music from a very early age, but I also studied filmmaking in college. I was not a cinematographer before joining TVF. When I came to TVF my motive was to get my music famous through the videos. I knew that TVF was on the rise and it was the right platform and I wanted to get my songs out, that was my plan. But when I came in they asked me if I knew how to handle a camera and I said yes. And, from the next day I started handling the camera. But during the course of the job, I have learnt a lot.
How did you approach the music for Humorously Yours? Was there a specific brief?
The brief from the very start was that it had to humble ‘and un-pretentious because it is about the unglamorous side of the comedy business. The story is about an average person who is struggling through life. So, we had to show the sincerity of that struggle. That was the main thing that we had kept in mind. There were some references like the French movie Amélie because it had that innocence as well as the beauty of the journey.
Today stand-up comedy is the oil sector of the entertainment industry
Coming to the locations, though all the series that you have worked on, be it Permanent Roommates, Pitchers and now Humorously Yours are set in Mumbai, how was the city portrayed in this series?
All the three series have been shot in the same area, Mira Road. In fact, there are lots of TV shows that are shot there. We were all aware of that and we had to make sure that it doesn’t look like anything that you could’ve seen in other TV shows. Portraying the city itself has not been a major priority for us because our stories are mainly character based.
How do you approach the music, be it for the series or your own music?
My own music consists of songs, but in the series I mainly work on the background music. But I cheat and try to put in my songs wherever I can (laughs). Technically it is all my own music and I like to remain true to what I like doing.
Here’s the trailer of Humorously Yours