Int'l Women's Day: 5 comediennes who have given men a run for their money
In a country where almost everything is influenced by movies and small-screen serials, many of us think of women as either a mother, daughter, teacher or perhaps, a goddess. However, there are a few women who have shown that a woman can also be a stand-up comic. Though a male-dominated world, stand-up comedy has seen women like Aditi Mittal, Radhika Vaz, Punya Arora and Sonali Thakker, to name a few, turn the tables around. We spoke with five up-and-coming comediennes about their trade, challenges they faced and, of course, US President Donald Trump.
The spice of Hyderabadass Comedy club in the city of Nizams, she is one among the first comediennes to be doing shows in the city. Hailing from Kolkata, this IT professional moved to the land of biryani two years ago from Bengaluru. Though a newbie, she has made herself the face of dark and sexist jokes. The 29-year-old techie believes that comedy has no gender differences.” This is one of those industries where people aren’t quite sexist, she insists. Male comedians push the women to try and get better. If you’re funny and confident you get a fair chance like anyone else in this industry,” she says.
On the Oscars: Considering Trump’s five-week history, we’re lucky that he didn’t ban the Oscars claiming that the Academy is a secret society of Hollywood liberals propagating fake news. And it wasn’t a mistake, it’s called #AlternativeAwards.
A South African-born comedienne, Kaneez’s niche is improv comedy rather than stand-up. “I don’t do jokes. I do comedy,” is how she describes herself. The 33-year-old began her career in 2006 with The Week That Wasn’t. The Mumbai-based comedic actress also conducts workshops on improv comedy and has been teaching since 2014. Surka believes that gender does not play a major role when it comes to work. “I am doing what I am good at. However, people are not used to see a woman speak about sex or menstrual cycles openly. This is where gender comes in,” she offers.
On Donald Trump: As a human being, I am genuinely concerned about the culture that he is spreading across America.
A New-Delhi based comedian, this 38-year-old is currently the cream of the crop. It has been almost six years since her first open mic session, after being encouraged by Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood of Whose Line Is It Anyway fame. Though she believes that the industry is fairly dominated by men, she says, “If you are good, you will make a mark. However, women have to tackle judgements and prejudice.” A post-graduate in journalism and mass communication from Symbiosis Institute, Pune, Neeti will soon fly to Australia, to perform at the month-long Melbourne Comedy Zone festival.
On Rahul Gandhi: I personally feel bad for him. He is among those unfortunate children who had their parents choosing their career for them. I still feel he might be good in something else, but not politics.
A recipient of the Nari Shakti Puraskar in 2015, this New Delhi-based comic is known for her satire and dark comedy. Primlani holds a masters degree in Geography from University of California, Los Angeles (yawn!). Apart from tickling her audience’s funny bones, she is also an environmentalist. Speaking about the industry she says, “It is still a male-dominated field. However, most of it depends on the mentality of the people. At the end of the day, if your material is good, people will laugh, regardless of your gender. This will also help you make your presence felt in the industry.”
On Uttar Pradesh elections: I wish political parties invested funds in solving the issues within their state, rather than focusing more on the slogans that they put on their banners.
The perfect definition for what anyone would call an all-round entertainer, this Chennai-based comedienne began her career in 2013, thinking it would be similar to theatre. The rest, as they say,
is history. Making her space in the industry, she says that she hasn’t faced too many challenges as a female performer within the circle. “I face my share of problems with audience perception. People
aren’t used to a female opining about something. With more female comics coming forward, this will hopefully change soon,” she adds.
On Tamil Nadu politics: It’s a classic ‘while the cat’s away, the mice will play’ situation, isn’t it? I wish they watched less movies or dramas. This would help them to not assume that people are foolish, and will let someone lead without their permission.