ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Of Stand-up Comedy and Stereotypes

Even though stand-up comedians claim to represent the interests of the young and the hip, they are still steeped in misogyny.

Recently, my partner and I attended an open mic comedy show in Gurgaon. Though we are fans of stand-up comedy videos on YouTube, this was our first exposure to live comedy. That evening we were eager to listen to what budding comedians in India had to say about politics, Bollywood, relationships/dating, family, annoying relatives, education, and everyday life—the usual themes. As in Indian classrooms and conference halls, nobody wanted to sit in the front row and share the spotlight. My partner and I decided to take the front seats knowing very well that frontbenchers will be picked on by whosoever comes on the stage.

And, as anticipated, when the host came, he asked us how we were related. My answer to which was, “husband and wife.” His first question (and I was supposed to laugh and I did laugh sportingly) to my husband was: “Sir, you are married? How can you look so happy?” This question was followed by some other jokes about the woes of married men. When he asked about our wedding date I chose to answer without much deliberation. And there came another joke about how I as a woman remembered the date and my partner did not. The comedian moved on, but not without cautioning my husband that he should never forget the “dates” and probably etch or tattoo them on his body like Aamir Khan in the Bollywood film, Ghajini. It was a pleasant evening and I do not remember a single moment during the two-hour show when there wasn’t a smile on my face. However, when the laughter subsided, recalling those small “icebreaker” conversations of the host with the audience did provoke me and made me uncomfortable.

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Updated On : 28th Jan, 2019

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