There has been a huge comedy boom on the gaming platform, enabling acts such as Bilal Zafar to gain creative control and reach new audiences

A Bonjela-addicted football manager berates his pixelated players. A CEO builds a cat-milk empire. A cannon fires sausages across a garden. This is a new wave of comedy, where performances last for hours and audience input is actively encouraged.

When the pandemic began, comedians went online. For those aware of Twitch, the decade-old streaming platform dominated by e-gaming, the chance to try something new beckoned. Bilal Zafar first streamed in April: “All of my gigs vanished. It’s my main source of income, so I was panicking.” Most Twitch users stream a game with themselves overlaid in a corner of the screen via a webcam. “I had the idea of streaming my favourite ever football game [Pro Evolution Soccer] and being the character of the manager in the corner,” Zafar says.

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