Bringing laughter to the region

For third-year economics student Sohail Chatur, writing comedy is nothing out of the ordinary.

Photo by Andreas Parrsiaouros
Photo by Andreas Parrsiaouros

You haven’t known the true meaning of difficult until you have tried to write stand-up comedy.

The mere idea of telling a homemade joke in front of an audience would scare some people half to death. However, for third-year economics student Sohail Chatur, writing comedy is nothing out of the ordinary.

“I’ve always enjoyed watching stand-up comedy,” said Chatur.

“One day, though, I realized that it wasn’t enough for me just to watch it.”

Drawing inspiration from comedians such as Ed Byrne, Russell Peters and Chris Rock, Chatur decided to try his hand at writing. He frequented the Yuk Yuk’s comedy clubs in Toronto and Kitchener to learn the tricks of the trade.

“My first ever performance on amateur night I got laughs, but then the second time was absolute silence for five minutes,” he said.

According to Chatur, the difficulty of writing something that will get a good crowd reaction is more organic than formulaic.

“Jokes will come to me in all different forms. Sometimes something funny will pop up in the middle of a conversation, sometimes it will come to me when I’m about to fall asleep and a lot of the time it is just my personal experiences,” he said.

Most amateur stand-up comedians are given a five-minute set at local comedy clubs, which Chatur said is more than enough time to tell six to seven jokes.

He continued that the key to a short set is to “have multiple jokes and punchlines to keep the audience laughing the whole time, instead of just once at the end.”

Chatur, on top of performing started his own company in July — Crooked Sword Comedy — that aims to bring more comedy outlets to the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

Crooked Sword Comedy gives amateurs a place to practice their material and hone in on their skills. They also bring out semi-professional and professional comedians for performances.

“To get started I basically made a list of venues and started making calls and sending e-mails” said Chatur.

Churchill Arms, a local pub, saw the potential and now hosts Crooked Sword Comedy nights on Wednesdays. On top of that, Molly Bloom’s in Kitchener reached out to Chatur to host a comedy night.

The need for live comedy in K-W is evident from the feedback Chatur has been getting, and he said this need is something he always wanted for the area.

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