How and when did you venture into stand up comedy?
I have always been a nautanki. The essence of my nautankiness took me to my first open mic show three years ago. It was disastrous; I had been to noisier
funerals. But it was fun and I decide ki yeh-ich karna hain.
Women comedians are rare, especially in the Indian stand up comedy circuit . What do you see as the reason for this?
One of the obvious reasons is that no girl likes being laughed at. There is a thin line between being laughed with and being laughed at. Even I’m not sure sometimes. But it can be quite discomforting , so that’s probably the reason there are few women in the business.
Do you feel the pressure of being expected to be funny at all times – around friends or when you are int roduced to people? Are there days when you go on a ‘ humour detox’?
My friends know me for the manic-depressive person I am so I am safe. But anyone I am introduced to will be like “Stand-up comic?
Tell us a joke yaar ”. The most unnerving is when my gynaecologist is busy with her implements and asks me to make her laugh; really freaks me out.
I do quite a few shows in a month but I manage to take time off. Apart from comedy, I am also a teacher so I am able to go into hiding on days I am not performing.
Have you had any experiences with hecklers during your performances? What’s the best way to deal with them?
Every show has those. You have to be okay with it. 9 0% of the time I feel no malice. More than annoy the comic, I thin k people just want to be a part of the show.
This New Year’s was bad though. There was a guy who got aggressive and was yelling out obscenities while I was performing. I got annoyed and asked him to shut up. After the show was over, I met the guy and he almost fell at my feet tel ling me how good I was.
Do you believe in ‘no-holds-barred’ humour? If no, what qualifies as ‘too offensive’?
I feel if it’s genuinely hurtful then it shouldn’t be made fun of. Things about people which can’t be helped , like handicaps, shouldn’t be made fun of. I hate when people make fun of homosexuality, it’s just who they are, who the hell are you to say anything about?
When did you realise you were funny?
I just got it from my family. My dad is a Sardar, so h e is both intentionally and unintentionally funny. My mom has been working on the T V show CID f or years so she ha s developed a thick skin. I definitely picked it up from them.
What makes you laugh?
My defence mechanism is my full-time job. A couple of weeks ago we had a technical snag at a show and everybody was frantic but I couldn’t stop laughing.
Favourite joke from your routine…
I love all my jokes but my routine on ghosts is fun. I think I like to make fun of things that scare me.
Is stand-up comedy making you rich?
Stand-up has never made anyone rich. Whoever started spreading these rum ours is a liar.
Who would you gif t a sense of humour to?
What came first: the laugh or the joke?
The laugh for sure; laughter isn’t just about jokes, it’s a defence mechanism. It started as a signal for danger. No, really, go read about it.
Volume 2 Issue 10