February 1, 2019 08:06 AM NPT
By: URZA ACHARYA
We are all guilty of spending hours on YouTube watching Buzzfeed or some other channel, wondering why we are wasting time watching something so silly yet finding ourselves enjoying and laughing at the relatable videos about work life, relationships, funny experiences etc. “KookyDunk” is a YouTube channel that has also embraced this style of content. It’s a branch of “Kathaharu”, a documentary, video producing channel that is very popular as they bring up-and-coming singers to the limelight and also make videos on the aesthetics of Nepal.
According to Shashank Shrestha, one of the creative directors of the channel, KookyDunk was started to separate ‘comedy’, as in comical sketches and shorts, from its main channel Kathaharu, so as to give complete and undivided attention to the said genre.
“When we posted sketches on our original channel, people started asking us if the content really fit there, considering how Kathaharu usually made documentaries. So we went with the flow and created a new channel,” he explains.
Currently, the channel is handled by a total of 10 members, ranging from creative directors to content producers to scriptwriters. The creative directors for the channel are Rocky Prajapati and Shashank Shrestha and the producers include Suyog Shrestha and Sudin B. Shrestha explains that the content Kookydunk produces focuses on observational comedy that can be explained as a form of humor based on the commonplace aspects of everyday life. This is evident from the videos they have uploaded on topics like “If Dashain were a person” “Every taxi driver ever” “Mom’s Gaali” etc.
Shrestha also highlights the need for subtle and real acting in the concept of comedy shows and shorts in Nepali media. He claims comedy in Nepal still uses old persistent comedy, like making a person have a comical voice or traits and using obsolete sounds for the sake of humor. “It’s important to keep it simple. Today’s humor is based on how relatable it is and depth in content,” he explains. The team of KookyDunk hopes to give comedy a fresh perspective as well as make it easily accessible to audiences with the help of YouTube.
Moreover, they also comment on social issues with the help of the channel. Their videos provide a comical perspective to our daily struggles, all the while hinting towards a moral message. For example, their video named “Be a Man Dai” is a satire on gender roles. The video is an advertisement of an app that reprimands men whenever they exhibit stereotypical behaviors generally linked with women like drinking a colorful drink or gesticulating while talking. The video’s subtle sarcasm projects the message effectively and, of course, with a comical twist. According to Shrestha, comedy is the best way to comment on any issue. “A good comedy makes you laugh and think at the same time,” he says.
The idea for a video is pitched by one of the members during a brainstorming session. After that, the scriptwriter duo, Yojana Kafle Magar and Aayush Shrestha, begin the writing process. Shrestha claims that their experience as stand-up comedians gives their writings a certain finesse. They also try to keep the whole thing as low budget as possible, as they themselves fund the project. After shooting the sketch and editing it here and there, the video is uploaded on YouTube. Shrestha and his team put in a lot of effort in the writing as they feel the script is the strongest element that can make or break an idea.
After a short hiatus in 2018, the team is back at it this year. According to Shrestha, the hiatus felt necessary in order for the team to properly manage their time and revive a new formula for their content approach. “Our videos took too long to edit. We wanted to give more time to the writing but the editing was taking up most of our time,” he adds. Another challenge the team faces is to be regular with new content. Shrestha says that as a YouTube channel they need to be regular with their videos as well as bring in fresh ideas. The team does not believe in having “click baits” in order to gain more views, as they know with good and meaningful content they can go a long way.
Also, proper capital has been a challenge for the team. Till now, they have funded the videos and though that gives them total creative control they can’t be too flexible with their locations or props. “We need funding to be more ambitious and make videos about social issues on a larger scale,” claims Shrestha adding that they hope to come up with ways to attract sponsors and other artists with whom they can collaborate to make relatable as well as impactful videos in the future.