A common perception is that the funniness of a person is inversely related to the hardships they’ve faced in their life.
Comedy being the art form that gets judged by every word and action, women of comedy go through everything in that aspect of things and then some.
“Why does she talk about periods only?” or “arey, another lady talking about sex!” While in the same setup, a man would talk about pretty much the same things and get better responses from the audience and comedians. It’s baffling to see the bias in the perception of the people in pretty much all social systems of India,comedy being a trend dawning in the new age pop culture.
Women in comedy have forever been at the judgemental yardstick in the business, often being ridiculed for their personal experiences or simply believed to be inherently not funny. Every woman in comedy had a story of people from the audience and show producers telling them things like “you’re really funny for a woman”. If you look at it through history, and how people resort to being funny or think of funny things to say, it comes from survival instinct as a defense mechanism to avoid danger or conflict. So is it safe to assume that the art of “being” funny comes from some kind of hardships faced in the past? Many comedians would have a story of them going through a rough divorce or how they’d gone through an episode of heavy trauma.
Examples of comedians with a dark upbringing:-
Richard Pryor was raised in a brothel with abuse being a regular ordeal in his life.
Jim Carrey’s family was homeless when he was in his teens.
Stephen Fry went to prison in his teens and has attempted suicide before.
Ms.Pat being shot whilst dealing drugs and raising her kids in her early teens.
The African American community has gone through a lot in history, with slavery and systemic racial abuse in the modern world be it by the police or at the workplace. So it’s only safe to assume that the ones who survived were funny as people who had a way with words and personality to come this far.
This brings me to comedians in India, where we see a revolution in female funny voices in the country, from Prashasti Singh to Sumukhi Suresh to Sumaira Shaikh. These women have come far as comedians in a country that’s had a problem with the treatment of women.
It’s only natural that the situation of our country where women see through the roughest of times, slowly have been giving birth to the funniest women around. We will see the funniest women come out of India because of the same past oppression, somewhat like an aftertaste of the pains faced.
Therefore, let’s just say it’d be too 2020 to think that women are not funny. Comedy springs from experiences and our women have had the most of it. Their experiences have been systematically dismissed for a very long time through the pages of history. It’s now that we listen closely to their stories through various forms of artistic communications, comedy being one!