Rules of comedy

In conversation

Rules of comedy

One of the few women stand-up comedians in India, Bharti Singh is a household name today. Her comic timing, body language and signature jokes are talk of the town. Even her poker face can tickle your funny bones.

Bharti, who hosted the latest season of India’s Got Talent, is currently mentoring comedy classes on television along with the hectic schedule of her live shows. When asked about her humble beginnings, Bharti, who is in her late 20s, takes an emotional walk down memory lane. “Today, when I see my family sleeping in an air-conditioned room and riding a luxurious car, I feel happy and secure. Because they have faced a lot of hardships.”
Weighty issues

The down-to-earth comedian notes that even as a child, she would get a lot of laughs and praises for her well-rounded figure. “I have won prizes for my obesity! The hospital in Punjab where I was born gave me an award for being the healthiest baby and even in school I won a prize for my good health. During my first reality show The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, I used to crack jokes on my weight issues and people loved me for it. I have always used my weight in a positive way. But I also admit when I went to a college and saw beautiful girls with slim and lean bodies, I wished I could also be like them.”

It may come as a surprise to many that Bharti is also fond of rifle shooting. The comedian explains, “I was good at rifle shooting. Initially, I went for training sessions because of the free food coupons. With those food coupons I could buy milk and fruits, the nutritious food my family could not afford. But gradually, I started performing well and then there came a time when I wanted to participate on a national platform and for that I needed a rifle which was expensive. A rifle could cost around Rs 4 lakhs and I was not in a position to buy one, so I had to forgo my shooting dreams.”

But rifle shooting’s loss was entertainment industry’s gain. The industry got an effortless comedian. On her style of comedy, Bharti says, “I always used to mimic others in the family. My mother would  worry for me as she was not sure how people would react to my jokes. But, at the same time, it was my mom who encouraged me for my first stage performance. She told me not to panic and to be smart and effortless. She has been my strength. People who used to make fun of my body now ask for my autograph.”

Laughing off challenges

Recalling the challenges she faced in her initial days, the chirpy comedian says, “When I got through to the auditions for Laughter Challenge, I clearly remember that no one laughed at my jokes, but after a week I was shortlisted and came to Mumbai. That one year was full of sacrifices as I had to stay away from my home and family for a long time.”
She also adds, “As a woman comedian I have to take care of certain things like my clothes for the show because I am not a model or an actress, so I dress according to my profile. I don’t crack lewd jokes. Also in future, if and when I get married, I will have to ensure that no one from my husband’s family gets affected by my jokes.”

Bharti dreams of getting married some day and has certain criteria for her soulmate. “I want a man who has a good sense of humour. People say that whoever marries me will be the luckiest husband in this world as he will never have a dull moment, thanks to my jokes.”

Professionally, will we see Bharti in her own signature show like comedians Kapil Sharma or Raju Srivastav do? “I still have a long way to go. Artistes like Kapil Sharma and Chandan Prabhakar are my seniors and I have learnt a lot from them. Right now, I am happy and satisfied doing television. Stars including Madhuri Dixit, Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan are on TV, so why not me? My tele projects  keep me involved in my craft. A lot of effort goes into coming up with funny lines and I owe a lot to my writers for this.”

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