By Amrita Paul, Content Writer, SheThePeople.TV
A show reel of a montage of stand-up comedy acts by Neeti Palta reveals her as someone who is unafraid to take a dig at her own kind, along with men. Or probably, crack up a little, at her own jokes while she is still on stage. One time, she asks her audience “Is it true that you can guess a man size by the size of his foot?”
Pausing briefly she adds, “So the men who have come here wearing pointy shoes… I see no reason why they should have a problem when women wear padded bras.”
The uproarious laughter that followed this astute observational joke was of course instantaneous.
Neeti, who started off as a comedian over five years ago feels that the reason we don’t find enough women pursuing comedy is because “they already receive too much attention”.
I think we don’t give ourselves a chance because of a nagging sense of self doubt – Neeti
She says, “You need to develop a thick skin to put yourself out there in the public eye, to prepare for any eventuality while you’re on stage. And I don’t think a lot of women, as a sort of defense mechanism, would want people looking at them that way.”
When Neeti was beginning her career, after already being a successful advertising professional, her parents too had initial reservations about where she was headed.
Her material is inspired from her own life
“I am based out of Delhi, so my parents were really concerned but this city really surprised me. There is so much of negative stereotyping constantly going on and there sure are some genuine assholes out there, but overall, the audience response at every show made me loosen up and get more confident with what I was doing,” she adds.
“I workshop my new material by trying it out in front of the audience in between jokes, which I have been using for some time now. That way, I get an immediate response as to whether something works or not. And in any case, I have other jokes to fall back on, if they don’t.”
Although, the popularity of stand-up comedy in the country is at a steady rise, Neeti is baffled by certain irregularities which are quite demoralising.
“The popularity of the medium is assured by the number of corporate gigs we keep getting. I performed in Gurgaon recently and even though it was a Tuesday, the show was house full. But sometimes, people don’t put their phones on silent and it can be really disturbing for the artiste. If you are paying to come watch us, why wouldn’t you just shut up and listen?
“There are times when shows are cancelled as well or organisers ask you to come and perform for free, assuring you of ‘lots of publicity’? Why would I ever do that?” she informs.
But as far as women in comedy are concerned, certainly a few more faces would do no one any harm.
Neeti says, “I think we don’t give ourselves a chance because of a nagging sense of self doubt. But truly, there is no reason why a woman shouldn’t be able to get up on a stage and crack a few jokes, or do whatever it is that she wants to do because at the end of the day, we at least owe this much to ourselves.”
As told to Amrita Paul, Content Writer, SheThePeople.TV
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