Comedy perhaps is the best way to deal with some seriously serious issues. One such being the rigidity of our society to accept women comedians, according to Neeti Palta, a stand-up artist who is presenting her latest show, Laugh-Shaff, along with fellow comedian Abijit Ganguly.
Well prepared for their gig exploring women issues in India, politics, marriage and other themes, both seem the least bit nervous. ‘‘Comedy is all about being confident and ‘with it’ and with some stage experience backing us up, we’ll do well,” says Neeti.
She believes women, in general, are extremely funny, but it’s sad to see them not get the exposure they deserve. ‘‘They either end up being turned into caricatures (like Tuntun or Manorama), become a male comedian’s sidekick on TV or just slapstick molls in Bollywood films. But times are changing and hopefully so will people’s outlook,’’ she says.
For Ganguly, on the other hand, comedy is serious hardwork. The factors, he says, that push one to give stand-up comedy a shot are huge unresolved childhood issues. “Fortunately or unfortunately, I happened to have plenty of those. Being a Bengali guy growing up in the Punjabiness of Delhi, suffering from premature greying of hair which made me look 30 ever since I hit puberty, and having a pleasantly plump physique, were factors that contributed to me being the funny guy,” says Ganguly. Executing a good piece of humour, according to him needs hardwork, research and spontaneous wit which are facets a comedian carries with himself, at all times. ‘‘A lot of our comedy comes from anger, angst and frustration over something, that we then convert into a more palatable form for the audience, called comedy. One has to be alert and aware to succeed... and of course, find humour in every situation. ”