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Januari 03, 2012

Ryan Adriandhy: Taking comedy seriously

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Up and coming stand-up comedian Ryan Adriandhy takes jokes seriously.

The 21-year-old, who won the Stand Up Comedy Indonesia (SUCI) competition, believes comedy is “a heavy thing”.

His jokes do not come out of the blue but through thorough observation, research and serious thinking that involves logic as well as a good memory.

He even makes a mind map, kind of like a graduate student preparing a dissertation, before performing onstage.

Apparently, that is what all good stand-up comics do.

“All [stand-up comedians] need good preparation. We write down the material and rehearse, we have scripts that take the form of mind maps,” Ryan told The Jakarta Post in a recent interview.

No wonder Ryan asserts that stand-up comedy is actually a very technical thing.

“If not, there shouldn’t be classes for stand-up comedy. They also have formulas for it,” said Ryan, who spent 13 weeks learning about stand-up techniques from experts in the competition organized by Kompas TV.

Every week, he had to come up with new material and new jokes that he had to put systemically in a mind map before presenting to judges and viewers.

“My brain was burned out,” he said.

Who would have thought that being a comic could be so serious and tiring?

Even Ryan never guessed until he became one himself.

The man never imagined he would take up the profession with the primary goal to make others laugh.

Ryan heard about stand-up comedy when he was in junior high. A relative who studied abroad brought him DVDs of famous comics like Robin Williams and Ellen Degeneres and introduced the young Ryan to comedy shows.

He immediately developed an affinity for the genre.

But, he didn’t know he had any talent until he won an English storytelling competition in high school.

Ryan won because he changed the storytelling format into stand-up comedy.

“The jury laughed, the audience laughed. I was in doubt at first but that moment convinced me that I was able to do stand-up,” Ryan recalled.

Unfortunately, the clueless Ryan failed to pursue his talent further as he could not find a place or community that could accommodate his new interest.

In the end, what Ryan did was channel his newly found passion into social media.

The bespectacled man routinely shared the newest video links from renowned comics and posted one-liner jokes to his Twitter account, making him known as a comedy connoisseur in the twitterverse.

Opportunity finally came when a friend of friend Pandji Pragiwaksono, the host of SUCI, informed him about the competition.

Without a second thought, Ryan signed up and entered the next round as one of the finalists.

In the grand finale he beat Nur Insan Akbar and won first place, earning Rp 50 million (US$5,500) in cash.

The judges lauded Ryan’s ability to create fresh and popular jokes.

The fast-talking comic said he got all the material for his jokes from daily observations. “I observe people’s manners. I can just sit for hours and pay attention to my surroundings and take notes of everything that I can develop into jokes,” he said.

Ryan admitted nothing changed much after he won SUCI except for the media exposure and the amount of his followers on Twitter.

However, talking to him in person, fans may be disappointed as he is not the type of guy that will make you laugh throughout an entire conversation.

“There is a big misunderstanding that comics should be funny in their daily life,” he said.

Despite his hilarious performances, Ryan is a serious guy offstage, especially when it comes to discussing stand-up.

During the interview, he explained everything he knew about stand-up comedy from theories and tips to becoming a successful comic in a serious tone.

“Don’t try to be funny, don’t tell jokes, just tell the truth,” he shared one of comic’s credo.

Ryan believes that a good comic is the one who stays true to the stage. “By being true to yourself, you make yourself more genuine … and the emotion can be felt more [by the audience],” he added.

Maybe comedy is indeed a serious thing as it deals with the truth. And for that, Ryan has prepared an answer. “Stand-up comedians are not trying to be funny, but trying to tell the truth in funny ways.”

With all this wisdom, Ryan sounds ready to make the profession his way of life.

And will he?

“Probably, if I can make a living out of this, it’s gonna be very fun,” he answered pensively.

But before things get more serious, Ryan said all he wanted now was to graduate from college as soon as possible.

The graphic design student at a private university in Jakarta is thinking of becoming a comic illustrator apart from being a professional stand-up comedian. Amid his busy schedule doing off-air stand-up, Ryan is working as an intern at a Jakarta-based illustration company.

But can he handle both jobs?

A description of himself on his Twitter account mentions that he is a beginning comic.

“I want to live creating something, not from working [for others],” he shared of his ambitions.

The statement may explain why Ryan takes stand-up comedy seriously, as he hopes to be able to live from it.

His seriousness can be seen in his continued involvement in Standup Indo, an off-air community for local comics.

Together with Pandji and the other finalists in the comedy competition, Ryan established the group ahead of SUCI to gather other aspiring comics in the country.

Ryan and his friends seem to be on the same mission to show the public that stand-up comedy is
indeed a serious business.

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