Jest for Laughs
I had always wanted to try standup but was too scared, with cabaret you can hide behind characters or costumes, but with standup, it’s 100 per cent you.
Elena Gabrielle started writing solo cabaret shows when she was only 19 years old. Growing up as a theatre kid, she developed a taste for musical theatre in her youth, a field she also majored in college. “I love singing and acting, but after completing my studies at university, I found that I actually prefer to write my own material. This led me to write solo cabaret shows with songs and stories.
I had always wanted to try standup but was too scared, with cabaret you can hide behind characters or costumes, but with standup, it’s 100 per cent you. But now I love it, and I wouldn’t do anything else with my life,” says the 34-year-old comedian mentioning that she incorporates music in her act and is a fan of the US-based musical comedian Bo Burnham.
Coming to Delhi on June 23 and 24 at Happy High with her show Addickted, Gabrielle confesses she decided to tour India because of some fans persistently asking her to come in the comments section on her YouTube channel. “I have been getting so many messages to come to India for years, so I finally decided to, just to see if people would like to see my stuff, and it’s been successful so far. I’ve even started to learn Hindi! The Indian comedy scene is amazing, the talent is out of this world, and the people are so incredibly nice. I’m always so surprised to meet so many amazing comedians (who I don’t know are famous) and then I look them up online and go ‘OMG these people are famous!’,” shares Gabrielle, who has visited India before, once this year in January and her first time being in 2018.
Due to having toured numerous countries in her career, she has had first-hand experience witnessing the subjective nature of comedy. “I’ve toured over 65 countries, and every country is different. One of the most fascinating things about my job is what different countries laugh at. Sometimes I will perform in places where the English language isn’t as strong, so there will be a moment of translation or perhaps the subtle language might go over their heads, but for the most part, I think streaming services and YouTube have really opened the world up to standup comedy,” says the Australia-born Berlin-based comedian, who holds a Guinness World Record for producing and performing in Burleskathon, 24 hours of continuous Burlesque.
Gabrielle likes to be brazen about her stand-up material and doesn’t shy away from speaking her mind. “I do say what’s on my mind particularly when it comes to comedy and my material. I talk a lot about dating as a single woman, and it’s so interesting, the things I think are normal to talk about out loud are quite taboo in some places. It’s something that I love though because sometimes these things need to be talked about more openly,” she concludes, adding that a recent comedy special she really enjoyed was Landing by Vir Das, which she felt was ‘poetic comedy genius’.
In Delhi this month for her world tour, Australia-born Berlin-based comedian Elena Gabrielle speaks about standup going global, having musical elements in her act and her familiarity with Indian comedians.