'I see a lot of growth in everyone'

Laugh riot
Last Updated : 25 July 2016, 18:32 IST
Last Updated : 25 July 2016, 18:32 IST
Last Updated : 25 July 2016, 18:32 IST
Last Updated : 25 July 2016, 18:32 IST

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Without a doubt, standup comedian Shrirupa Sengupta is easily the spark of positivity and confidence in the circuit. A spitfire who won the Bengaluru final round of ‘Melbourne International Comedy Festival Raw Heats’ in 2014, she came into standup comedy that same year and stole the show.

Her joyful personality is easy to fall in love with, both on-and-off stage. She performs in various styles of comedy such as improv, standup and is also part of the club, ‘Improv Comedy Bangalore’.

She shares with Anushka Sivakumar tidbits about her journey, her jokes and everything in between.

Why are there not many women in standup comedy?

Standup comedy is the exact antithesis of what women are told they have to be. It is public, loud and ridiculous. As more and more women decide those rules aren’t for them, more of them will be standup comics and auto drivers too, for that matter.

Do you feel women-centric jokes are accepted by the audience if told by women rather than men?

Not really. I think jokes are accepted by the audience when they see an element of truth in it. As a comic, you have to connect with the subject you are making a joke about and be honest to the audience. So whether you are a man or a woman, only if you truly believe in the woman-centric joke or any joke for that matter, will it work. Many male comics do jokes centred around women and come across as honestly baffled by our gender; it works just as well as it would if a female comic was doing it.

Are you scared about censorship in standup?

Not at all. Fear is a bad driver. I, personally, take it as a challenge. To be able to remain free when there are limits to freedom is an opportunity for your mind to get sharper and find new ways to express yourself. Some of the greatest works of art were created in really adverse conditions. Censorship to comedy might just create new breaking grounds in terms of material, presentation and focus. We are living in exciting times and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Does the competition scare you?  

To be honest, I really don’t see it. I see a lot of growth in everyone. And what’s honestly quite fabulous is that if you notice, there is a pattern. When one of us grows, we all grow. The scene grows.

Opportunities increase and new perspectives and elements to writing and performing come in. It’s literally like new dimensions opening up and aliens walking in with ‘chai’.

What happens if you joke about your family?

My family points out how it could have been done better. I remain eternally single because no one wants to deal with my folks after hearing about them.

Who do you first try your material on?

I have three friends who I talk to everyday. Two of them are social workers who are upfront to the point of banishment from society and one is a chef with a propensity for very sharp knives. Also, unsuspecting strangers.

What happens if you mess up on stage?

 I try shape shifting into a cat, which, of course, never works. Then, I address it and move on with my set and after the show, proceed to drown myself in cold coffee, or grape juice and ice cream.

Which standup comedian would make the worst politician?

Anirban Dasgupta and Kenny Sebastian. They are too nice.

Which movie will you be named after?

Published 25 July 2016, 15:32 IST

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