‘Gender in Indian Standup Comedy’ – Aditi Mittal

**In part two of the 10 blog series, we profile Aditi Mittal, and how she incorporates humour when speaking on serious issues.

“And by the way, buying a bra is a whole other ball game (for the lack of a better pun over there). Like you go there and for some reason, for some odd reason there is always some guy… there is always a man behind the counter first of all and his name something like ‘Chhotu’ or ‘Biju’. So you are like totally horrified and embarrassed. You go to mumble your bra size at him. You are like, ‘Bhaisahab mujhe *mumble” *mumble* size bra dijiye.” And Chhotu will be like “Madam aap 36C size kar hi lijiye.” And the worst is he will always be right.”

For the entire episode of Aditi Mittal, log on to the YouTube video, “Bra Shopping” and “Aditi Mittal takes the sex out of sexuals as Dr. Mrs. Lutchuke”. While humorously discussing sex in the ‘Dr. Mrs. Lutchuke’ video, Ms. Mittal talks about an all-inclusive culture for people with varying sexual orientations. The Indian standup comedy industry is not only a new entrant in the list of cool career aspirations millennials seek but it is also a burgeoning culture of re-assessing and inserting humor in the ‘Indianness’ of an Indian life. It is through live performances / Open Mic nights that almost all the standup performers launch themselves. After which they financially optimize upon their live performance content through YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, SnapChat, Instagram and Facebook. Some of the standup comedy artists create separate content for Instagram and Snapchat.

The live performances and standup comedy stars are managed by new media organizations like East India Comedy, Canvas Laugh Club, Only Much Louder, A Little Anarky, KWAN etc. The target audience for new media is youth who extensively consumes internet. A lot of content is in Hinglish and hence the audience is required to know, understand and ideally speak the same in order to enjoy the humor. Keeping the target audience demographics in mind, we are looking at standup comedy to be popular in Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat, Pune, Kanpur, Indore, Jaipur, Vadodara, Nagpur, Lucknow, Patna, Vishakapatnam, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Gwalior and Gandhinagar. The aforementioned cities belong to the Tier 1 and Tier 2 classification. These classifications are arrived upon after calculating income of an individual and house rent expenditure.

The new media standup comedy questions the morality of India’s socio-culture fabric while the mainstream media standup comedy merely laughs at it or worse still reinforces certain questionable ideologies. When women form part of the standup comedy industry, it gives a delectably humorous twist to the otherwise serious topic of women empowerment. At the outset, both seem to be thriving in the entertainment industry. However, which of the category an individual patronizes speaks a lot about that person’s own mindset.