Wisecracks, inappropriate jokes, laughter, and more—for some years now, the stand-up comedy trend has taken the country by storm. With the likes of comedy groups such as All India Bakchod as well as artists like Vir Das, Kanan Gill, among others, this form of entertainment has definitely made a mark. But when looked at minutely, like many domains in society, stand-up comedy too has been dominated by men.
“The recent launch of a comedy club in Dwarka did not have a single female comedian. If you look at their Instagram post about it, the group photograph had at least 30 comedians—all men. It really bothered me,” says Jeeya Sethi, a stand-up comedian from Mumbai. In an attempt to break this glass ceiling, Sethi started FemaPalooza—a comedy show by and for women—in 2015. Over the years, this initiative has successfully drawn a throng of women to the country’s comedy circuit.
Ladies in the house
Hosted by Sethi, FemaPalooza will be back for another round at Happy High, Shahpur Jat on Saturday at 4pm. This show, which is strictly ‘no men allowed’, is an open mic for upcoming women comedians all over Delhi-NCR to take the stage as they try new material in an inclusive and encouraging atmosphere. With a special act by Neeti Palta, the show will give an opportunity to 14 new women stand-up comedians who will have the liberty to speak about anything and everything under the sun.
“I think women have more fun when there are no boys around because we don’t have to behave ourselves. When there are only women around, women are less judgmental of each other and more encouraging. It was an environment I wanted to create that is safe for women both in the audience and on stage,” shares Sethi.
Sethi has always been passionate about bringing more female stand-up comedians in the limelight. Having witnessed a number of comedy shows featuring only men, FemaPalooza, she elaborates, is a break from the androcentric nature of the art. “No one questions if a show line-up only has men in it. But when I do a show only for women, a number of people will come up with questions,” she shares.
FemaPaloozas aims to normalise the fact that women are an equal part of the country’s comedy circuit. Neha Jaiswal from South Delhi, who has performed at a previous FemaPalooza at Happy High, mentions, “Most comedy shows in the city happen at night and it becomes unsafe. I love that FemaPalooza takes into account all these problems. It is not just to recognise women comics. The wholesomeness of the concept attracted us to it.”