'I am living my best life by doing Comicstaan': Kusha Kapila on her stint as co-host, breaking stereotypes
We caught up with this ever-growing talented star in a lively conversation where she speaks her heart out
To call her just an internet sensation, won’t do justice to the feisty content creator Kusha Kapila. The Delhi-based influencer became the breakout star of the internet with her flamboyant and comical character sketches etched from her real-life experiences. Be it the classy Billi Maasi of South Delhi who can have you in splits to the Monday Aunty that personifies how icky a Monday can feel, Kusha knows the ropes of making hilariously funny content that relates to all. Besides being humorous, her content appeals to young hearts as it churns a meaningful dialogue around pivotal subjects like mental health, body positivity, feminism, classism, and much more of whatever is shaping the current climate of the country.
The high-relatability factor comes from the fact that she is able to project the inner turmoil, dilemmas, insecurities and struggles of the youth with a slice of slapstick humour and hope that is re-assuring. She delivers the important messages with witty melodramatic characters and jokes that make her stand out. Kusha dons many hats with her satirical character sketches ranging from Behensplaining while reviewing movies and TV shows, to throwing some madcap challenges for budding content creators with Go Fun Yourself and many more. She doesn’t shy away from experimenting which is why she chose to work in the horror genre as well with Netflix’s original anthology series — Ghost Stories. After portraying a myriad of mini characters in the OTT space, it was time for Kusha to expand her horizon as an artiste. Finally, she made the cut to India’s biggest comedy show — Comicstaan Season 3 as the reality show’s co-host alongside veteran comedian Abish Mathew. Here she spills the tea on her first co-hosting experience and much more.
How was your hosting experience with Comicstaan?
It felt fantastic! This was my first hosting experience and I have a great story to tell… so I auditioned for Comicstaan and the day I was to go for the audition, I missed my flight. At that time I felt I couldn’t do this. I thought I was only funny on social media and could not pull it off on such a big platform like a reality show. Even the regular joke on the content creator is that they can entertain only with 15-second social media videos. But my team really encouraged me to at least go for the audition even if it meant failing. I think that fear of failing was a real one. But when I went for the audition, to my surprise, I had so much fun with Abish Mathews! During the audition, I had this fantastic chemistry with him where I was bouncing off the walls in excitement! It was a great audition and I had so much fun. I must say, I was so incredibly lucky to be in the presence of such heavyweight comedians and am grateful to creative director Kriti Gogia for giving me this wonderful opportunity.
How was your chemistry on set?
You name the comedian and they were present in the show (laughs)! These are the people whose incredible journey I have seen in the last decade or so and I’ve been a fan of their work. They all made me very comfortable on the set. For instance, in the first episode only, judge Zakir Khan said, ‘Kusha you are doing a great job, welcome to Comicstaan.’ Sumukhi Suresh, one of the judges, used to give me so many tips behind the scenes so I could improvise. That kind of encouragement really helped me. Kenny Sebastian used to laugh while I was doing certain jokes, further amping my confidence. Abish Mathews as my co-host was so warm. He was somebody who was always cracking jokes around me and ensured that I was comfortable. We had many fun moments. I especially remember how he would tap me on the shoulder (so I used to assume someone was behind me) while the two of us were on stage. And guess what? I used to fall for it almost every time!(laughs). He had such a cheerful energy that enabled me to be myself in a space that was so conducive to having a good time and bringing joy to the viewers. I am so happy with the way the show has come out.
As a comic content creator, how tough is it to make people laugh?
It was at the age of 28 when people exposed me to a camera at my job and I started creating content on a regular basis. I started making jokes that were borrowed from my own life experiences. I was born into a Punjabi household in North Delhi, around people who were constantly commenting on every single aspect of my life. That gave me a lot of fodder to make comical character sketches. Since the jokes came from my experiences, perhaps, that’s why viewers found them real and enjoyed them.
Is your famous character Billi Maasi a real person you met in life?
I met a person at the age of 18 who was very similar to Billi Maasi. I saw her at someone’s evening party where she was this woman gracefully wrapped in opulent silks, with really short hair, sitting poised at that musical evening. Then suddenly everyone started coaxing her to sing but she was a tad reluctant in a snooty way. After much persuasion, when she finally started to sing, she sang really bad but everyone praised her. At that moment, the funniest part was when a kid burst into laughter hearing her and reflected on the irony! So I created a funny caricature inspired by this fancy-pants woman who was more about her flamboyant aura than her talent.
Content creators have immense influencing power. How can they be socially responsible?
In the field of comedy or content creation, if you have made a mistake then I suggest what I do — course correct and move ahead. I believe in acting responsibly and not repeating the same mistakes. Also, I feel one shouldn’t take too long to apologise because then the harm is done. I apply this to myself — if somehow my content has hurt any particular group or community, then I apologise and educate myself in that area.
On what basis do you pick brands to collaborate with?
I pick brands that I truly believe in and I have used myself. If there is a brand that I have not used then I do my research on it and see if it’s something that speaks to me or to my audience. If in case I do pick a brand that does not sit well with my audience, then I gracefully move on without endorsing it ever again.
You have played characters far older than you. Sometimes content creators are often believed to be similar to the characters they play. How do you aim to break these stereotypes?
It is only by expanding my horizons as an artiste that I can break free from the stereotypes. This is why I did Comicstaan. People have seen me do sketches on social media but now I want to be seen as a host. I want to stand next to someone like Abish who has done multiple reality shows like that... and see my luck, this is a show I watched as a big fan and now I got a chance to be a part of it. I think I am living my best life by doing Comicstaan! Broadening your vistas as an artist and feeling challenged in new ventures is the way to sharpen versatility. So I am very elated and excited about where new explorations will land me in future!
Comicstaan Season 3 is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.