Jamie J, the daughter of Johnny Lever, joined the reality series Comedy Circus Ke Mahabali on Sony in July. Since then, she has impressed the judges producer Arbaaz Khan and actress Archana Puran Singh with her mimicry and impersonation – from Asha Bhonsle, Lady Gaga and Shah Rukh Khan to much loved characters like Basanti (from Sholay).
What’s more, she earned a standing ovation with her co-comedians Mubeen and Suresh Menon for their act in August.
Behind the scenes
Thanks to her comedic roots and a stint at Mumbai’s Comedy store, she knew where she was headed. “Performing comes very easily to me and I’m never scared of the stage. Being a classical singer has contributed majorly to my ability to perform – be it stand-up or impersonations,” she claims. With an observational comic style fused with mimicry acts, Jamie is all for preparation and practice. “A lot of my comedy revolves around gender differences and our relationship with technology. Improv does happen once you’re really confident with your material, but until then, sticking to what you know is better,” she feels.
Taking after her father however, wasn’t initially on the game plan, as the parents preferred a safer route. “They were particular about me getting a degree, because the entertainment industry is not the most secure place. They felt I needed something to fall back on. So I did my masters in marketing at the University of Westminster, London and worked there for a couple of years, before coming back to India,” shares Jamie. She was soon angling for TV and auditioned for Comedy Circus ke Mahabali. “Surprisingly enough, nobody knew I was Johnny Lever’s daughter until the first show. A milestone so far has to be my Asha Bhonsle impersonation being compared to my father’s acclaimed one,” she recollects. As for how her father feels about her entry into comedy, she confesses, “He’s very brazen and honest . If I’ve done good, he says so and nothing more, and if I haven’t, he provides his constructive criticism.When he saw my first script, he wasn’t completely bowled over. I knew I had a long way to go. But here I am.”
Comedy Circus ke Mahabali is telecast every Friday 10 pm on Sony.