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I've heard the Mumbai crowd is desperate to laugh: Shazia Mirza

What are you expecting from Mumbai’s audiences?
I am expecting there to be lots of rich, single, good-looking men with no issues with women; who are not threatened by women; and to be sitting in my front row. I also want them to laugh at all my jokes. I think the Mumbai crowd will be great. I’ve heard they are desperate to laugh. Or maybe that they are just desperate, I can’t remember which it was.


Stand-up comic Shazia Mirza

Are you apprehensive about your controversial material? What topics can we expect?
I am not worried about anything, except finding somewhere to get my roots done. I have seen some grey hair popping through, so my priority is finding a good hairdresser. On stage, I will do what I like, and will talk about anything — family, men, relationships, travel, and hairy women.

Since stand-up comedy is a relatively male-dominated profession, are you gawked upon on stage?
I’ve been doing stand-up for a long time now, and I’m still doing it, so it doesn’t bother me how many men are doing comedy; it doesn’t stop me from doing it. Politics, business, medicine, are all male-dominated but we still have female Prime Ministers and female
board members.

Have you faced any bias as a female stand-up comic?
I never think about being a woman, I just think about being funny and how much funnier I can get. I never let my vagina get in the way of business.

Do you come from a traditional Muslim family, and were they game for you shifting from teaching to doing comedy?
I am not from a traditional family; my parents are actually quite liberal. They don’t care what I do; they are old and getting ready to move towards the afterlife. They are totally done with this life.

What is the status of the documentary you are working on regarding stand-up comedy in Pakistan?
The status is that it is: RED ALERT! It’s great fun, they are dying to laugh — no pun, and they are dying to laugh at all taboos and things they can’t talk about in real life, like sex, drugs, religion, politics — everything, the English are always talking about.

Your future plans…?
I was meant to perform in Pune but the promoter turned out to be a conman. He kept getting me to perform on shows that he said he was arranging, and kept asking venues for loads of money but agreeing to pay me a tiny amount. When he realised he wasn’t going to make much money from me, because I would not stand for his shady deals, he’d cancel at the last minute by saying, “I’m sorry but there’s been a death in my family”. First it was his grandmother then it was another family member. My advice was, “You’d better stop organising these comedy shows, it seems to be killing off your entire clan.” Welcome to India.

Till November 17, 8.30 pm
At Canvas Laugh Factory, Palladium Mall, Lower Parel. CALL 43485000

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