Marketing podcast: Boundaries matter, even in comedy

Being a comedian can be tricky, especially when you have to toe the line between being funny and sharing controversial jokes. Like many comedians, Singaporean comedian Sharul Channa (pictured) likes to push the boundaries with her humour and jokes during performances but knows she has to find the fine balance between being humorous and offensive. 

She has also had to evolve her comedic executions during the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted the livelihoods of performers since physical events were banned. In the latest episode of Marketing Connected, Channa shares how comedians can be flexible in their work while staying true to themselves, as well as how she balances comedic relief and impactful content. She also touches on the need for gender diversity in the arts scene and the importance of it.

Separately, Channa recently called out CEO of crisis communication firm Strategic Moves, Viswa Sadasivan, for an inappropriate remark made during an interview for his talk show Inconvenient Questions. During a conversation prior to the recording of the show, Sadasivan asked her why she was wearing a rose on her top, to which she replied it was to distract viewers from the patterns on her top, Channa said. In response, Sadasivan said: "It would be more distracting if you were wearing only that rose". Although she carried on with the interview out of professionalism, she later called the producers to remove her from the series and asked for an apology for the disrespectful remark.

Listen to the episode here.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: Before they make it big, should an artist keep true to themselves and their DNA of performance, or be open to a level of flexibility in the type of work they do?

Channa: In today’s world, making it big is such a subjective term because you can make it big by going on Instagram to put a 30-second video of your dog, or a video of yourself doing TikTok dances – that’s something I’ve discovered about myself during the COVID times!

I think there is no one way to make it big, but having said that, being popular is one thing but finding yourself, and finding voice and your truth is another. The balance of both is very important. Once you find your voice and you find your truth, it takes a longer time to become popular because you are not necessarily saying what the audience wants to hear. But becoming popular is slightly easier, or rather way more easier, than finding your voice.

So if you become popular first and find your voice, it’s a bonus. But if you just become popular and you don’t find uour voice, and you don’t put your truth out there people will lose interest in you.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: How do you balance comedic relief and content that impacts the society? How can marketers work with you because you never know what a comedian will say next?

Channa: If you are doing something for yourself, you have to have a balance. You can’t just create content for the public and it’s not always about pleasing them. You, as an artist, are doing something because it also pleases you. The more it pleases you, the more it is true to your voice, the more other people will connect with [you]. Either they will connect with it because they have never seen this point of view, or they hate what you are saying, or it’s a new perspective and they want to go with [it]. So there’s a lot of pressure.

If you are getting paid to do a show for a corporate, then it’s very focused. We know why we are doing it, they know why they are getting us, and it’s for money. And if they don’t want us to say certain things, then you have to say “alright no problem”. But if I am doing something for myself, then I’ll say it.

Join us for our Content 360 conference happening 6-8 April 2021 to learn more about the marriage of content and technology in this new world.

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