‘Gender in Indian Standup Comedy’ – Sorabh Pant

**In part three of the 10 blog series, we profile Sorabh Pant, and how he incorporates humour when speaking on serious issues. You can read part one (Kenny Sebastian) and part two (Aditi Mittal).

“I discovered these facts which really pissed the hell out of me. 23% of Indian girls when they hit the 7th standard drop out of school. And the reason this happens is that most of them cannot afford sanitary napkins. They cannot afford any of the stuff and that’s messed up dude. The thing is that we don’t understand that during that period… when you hit puberty women go through far more than men do. Like our – men’s puberty is chilled. Our puberty is like, “What’s my voice? Who am I?” I mean that never happened to me but…I look like Kambli and sound like Sachin. I know. No but it’s messed up man. So many of these girls can’t afford the necessary things to be able to deal with this… so what they have to do is they have to use old rags. Some of them use wood shavings. Some of them use ash. That’s messed up. That’s crazy. Man if England vs. Australia test series ever happened in India…

Girls when you become women you go through a lot more. Because when you become a woman, you basically bleed and that’s a normal, natural thing. It is okay. Some girls are made to feel insecure because they don’t have the provisions. Men are not… we land up… we are like, “Whatsup!” I did IT. I did IT myself. I am a self sustaining organism.”

 “They keep competing… religion keeps competing and it is not religion itself. Its these misguided godmen of religion… like last year what happened was… there was a maulvi who went out there and said, “Muslim ladies should create 5 babies to compete with Hindus.” So one Sadhu came and said, “Hindu ladies should create 6 babies.” I am like, “Bhai, uska uterus hai, ATM machine nahi hai.” It makes no sense. You just don’t put it inside and go – 6754.”

“I had a love marriage. As in: my wife and me had a love marriage. As in: I loved her and she loved marriage. Its true for so many couples, it’s not even funny. Indian men need arranged marriage because we don’t know how to pick up women. We have no idea. Indian men, we don’t know what to do. We see a girl. We get nervous. We walk in like… “Mummy! I want her!”

“People keep saying that girls and boys are not different. They are all the same… united as one. Girls and boys are completely different, okay? Girls have completely different skill sets. Girls become much faster at learning language and social skills. Girls become human beings faster than boys. Boys take a long time and if you are from Haryana, it takes you a whole life. Girls learn language way faster. When my son was 16 months old… my wife has a friend of hers who also has a daughter. And we used to keep getting all these whatsapp videos from this girl speaking all sorts of stuff like, “Twinkle twinkle little star! How I wonder… and the theory of relativity is as follows… and the formula of pi is 3.14158” and some shit. My son’s only words at that time were, “Aaah!” which translates to “Utha mujhe coolie saale! Takla coolie hai tu! Utha!” Dude, girls are totally different. Boys are more excited about the physical stuff. Boys are more excited about doing stuff. Girls are more excited about being humans. I go to a person’s house who has a girl in the house and the girl is chilling there like, “Hey wassup! I am a girl. I am learning stuff.” My son enters the house, he kicks the furniture, takes and throws it on people’s faces, takes ink, dumps it on people’s faces… my son is from the Shiv Sena!”

For the entire episodes of Sorabh Pant, log on to the YouTube videos, ‘Sanitary pads and school’, ‘Nasbandis and condoms’ ‘Sorabh Pant on Arranged Marriage’ and ‘Girls vs Boys’, 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. 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.