What a time to be alive! Entertainment has taken a shift in recent times from movies to TV series to Stand-up comedy now! Standup Comedy has been a profound art form in western countries for more than a century. It came fresh in India almost a decade ago and has been on the rise in terms of performers and audience since then.
A Rise in Stand Up Comedy
Every other day some new comic in town is uploading a video and winning over the hearts of many fans. Since the advent of Youtube and now video streaming platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix stand up comedy has grown a lot. Stand up comedy in India is one of the fastest-growing industries as more and more mainstream media is taking notice. Stand-up comedians have become not just comics but also social media influencers with a massive following and collaborations from the major entertainment industries like Bollywood, fashion, etc.
Doing comedy is not an easy task. Even actors agree that comedy is the most difficult genre to do and it isn’t easy to get laughs out of people. Did you know that most of the comics that we see online have been honing their skills off for at least 4-5 years before putting up a video! Nowadays standup comics have more followers than Bollywood A-listers and have more than a million views on their videos.
Stand-Up for Women Empowerment
In the past few years, we have seen a lot of women empowerment in all sectors of our lives. Being a space which was dominated by men, it is great to see how the number of women has increased over the last few years in the comedic scene. Standup has given women a chance to be vocal. With the line-up being restricted to only women, the jokes being told take on a radically different tone.
We have often seen male comics joke about Indian political scenario or crib about their girlfriends. Contradictory to that, female comics are using this platform not only for comedy but also for major issues like women empowerment and corruption. Indian women comics are making patriarchy the punch-line in their acts, which is an issue that needs to be addressed. By talking about patriarchy and the hypocritical attitudes of the men in their comedy, they are winning hearts.
Here are 6 women comedic gems who you can find at your local open mics or on your screens making you go ROFL!
1. ‘Almost Sanskaari’ Neeti Palta
A well-established advertiser, Neeti Palta quit her job and started standup comedy. She is among the few noted ones in the English stand comedy club who gave a face to stand up for women in India. Her comedy acts include a satirical commentary on the day to day Indian lifestyle. Neeti Palta has performed comedy in more than 200 cities across the country and her most loved and admired comedy scene is ‘Almost Sanskaari.’ Apart from that, she was recently seen as a judge in Comicstaan 2.
2. Makeup Didi Mallika Dua
Commonly known as ‘Makeup Didi’, Mallika Dua is one of the most loved women standup comics in India. Mallika Dua has gained a lot of popularity in a short time due to the various characters she plays on Snapchat.
Mallika’s videos are satirical in nature depicting the harsh reality of the society with a dash of humor. She was recently dragged in the #metoo campaign, as there were claims of harassment against her father, famous journalist Vinod Dua. Despite that, she boldly made her point and came out to be highly opinionated and strong-headed.
3. Queen of Improv Kaneez Surka
Renowned for her improv comedy, Kaneez Surka is a South African comic, improv artist and an actor. She has a youtube channel and her online comedy game show, The General Fun Game Show is loved by all comic lovers. Comedians like Kaneez Surka are giving a new meaning to what it means to be “an Indian woman” with her bold and satirical observational comedy. She is also proving her improv skills by being a judge at Amazon’ comedy show Comicstaan. (talk more about her personal sense of comedy)
4. Comedy Veteran Aditi Mittal
Aditi is one of the well-known faces in standup comedy and is one of the first women to do standup comedy in India. Her famous stand-up series titled ‘Things They Wouldn’t Let Me Say’ has made her extremely popular. She was seen on the (in)famous AIB Roast with Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor. She is also rated as one of India’s top 10 stand up comedians by Times Of India.
5. Sketch Comic Sumukhi Suresh
Loved for her character Vagayanti, Sumukhi Suresh is a writer, a judge, an actor, and a standup comedian. She is famous for her sketch comedy and has her show on Amazon Prime.
In an interview with Verve Magazine, Sumukhi’s take on women in comedy was,
Comedy, like any other industry, comes with a set of challenges that you have to face, regardless of your gender. Creating regular content, writing as much as possible and drawing a crowd for your shows are some of the many points on your checklist. Then why was it that when I achieved even one of them, I was lauded for being able to do so “as a woman” and also congratulated for being the first woman to have done that? While initially you enjoy the attention, soon enough you should want to be the best at what you do and not be limited by your gender. Thus I gave myself the goal of becoming the best comic rather than best ovary-producing laughter generator. The only way for me to break gender bias and related discrimination is by being so good at my work that I am unavoidable.
6. Comedy Newbie Urooj Ashfaq
Urooj always had a keen interest in comedy and started her comedy at a very young age. Urooj is a writer and a comedian. She started her comedy since she was in school and she won FemaPalooza in 2017. Apart from that Urooj was a contestant at Queens of Comedy on TLC. Her content ranges from psychopaths to cannibalism to tattoos and whatnot.
She has also worked with Abish Matthew for his show ‘Son of Abish’. Apart from that, she has also done an internship with AIB in 2016 and has appeared in many of their videos.
These stand-up comedians are killing it and setting the stage on fire with their content. Their sharp-wittedness and sarcasm, has made women standup comedians become unstoppable. These comics are breaking all myths and stereotypes saying ‘women can’t be funny.’
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