When a stand-up comic turns podcaster

George Vivian Paul  

Kochi-based stand-up comic George Vivian Paul needs a live audience for his act because he feeds off their response. So understandly, with the lockdowns, he has not been able to do stand-up. He has instead turned to a new medium — podcasting. Vivian’s Irrelevant Podcast (VIP) speaks to people who have happily followed their heart doing what they love. The eclectic mix of the guests — a busker, potter, calligraphist, cosplayer, and an endurance cyclist among others — is the USP of his show. The third season will be released shortly.

“Even while I was doing stand-up I felt I could put people in the audience at ease and make them comfortable enough to talk about uncomfortable stuff. I am able to use that in my podcast; getting people to talk about themselves,” he says.

He had started recording before lockdown because of which he had enough content to launch in March. With everybody at home, it also seemed like an appropriate time. For recording the podcast, he collaborates with Social Mob, a platform for independent artistes which gives him access to recording infrastructure.

Initially, roping in guests was not easy, “Not many were listening to podcasts at the time, it was new. So I had to convince them by telling them that it would be like a radio interview,” he says. Since it is not easy to quantify ‘listens’, he says the podcast is ‘on its path to doing well.’

The engineer-turned-comic founded the Kochin Komedians Collective in 2016, before which he was a stand-up comic in Kolkata. While many comics went online with their acts, he did not. “I am a stand-up comic, I perform in front of an audience. Their response is important to me,” he explains.

“Podcasting is in its infancy and it will take time to grow. That’s how it was for me with stand-up comedy, it took two-and-a-half years to establish myself — six months in Kochi and a year-and-a-half in Kolkata — so it’s okay. The future looks bright since I have people approaching via friends to be featured,” Vivian says. He knows it is too soon to monetise the podcast, but he is optimistic about being able to, in the future.

Vivian’s skills as a comic do not come into play when he speaks to his guests, “There is no place for comedy really, except for the odd joke. But like I said I use my skills to put people at ease and get them to talk.” The language of interaction depends on the guest — English or Malayalam.

Each season has 12 episodes and they are available on apps such as Spotify, Apple iTunes and Social Mob.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 12:03:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/stand-up-comic-george-vivian-paul-changes-lanes-with-the-new-vivians-irrelevant-podcast/article33161873.ece

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