Kaneez Surka: I'm scared to do stand-up comedy

Jul 24, 2018, 12:20 IST | Letty Mariam Abraham

Paving the way for women exploring the art, leading comedienne Kaneez Surka, who is judging reality series Comicstaan, opens up on her love for the improv form

Kaneez Surka: I'm scared to do stand-up comedy
Kaneez Shukla

For someone who found herself in the world of comedy by destiny rather than design, Kaneez Surka is elated that the Amazon Prime show, Comicstaan, helps contestants hone their comic skills. As one of the mentors on the show, Surka says, "They are lucky to have such an intense workshop of two months. We took years to learn all the forms of comedy."

Surka was previously seen as a judge on Queens Of Comedy. Though the show could not rake in the TRPs, she is glad that it brought several comediennes to the fore. "While those on Comicstaan have been doing comedy for over two to three years, the contestants on the other show were fresh off the boat. It was successful in bringing female comedians out of the woodwork. I didn't even know they existed."

She is glad that more and more women are joining the scene that was previously dominated by male artistes. "There are few female comics. But the ones out there are really good. The number is slowly growing."

With a career spanning over 10 years, she has established herself as the queen of improv comedy in India. Seeing the ease with which she brings on the laughs when on stage, one would assume that she has cracked the formula, but Surka says she struggles with stand-up comedy.

"I do very little stand-up, I am comfortable with improv comedy. Improv is a group effort; you are never going to see me on my own. Honestly, I fear being alone on stage; I am scared that people have prior expectations of me already because I am a known face in the comedy industry. I fear that I won't be able to go out there and start from scratch. I find it difficult to do scripted things unless it's a sketch. Ask Tanmay Bhat who has directed me in so many sketches. I shine when there is no script", she says.

Ask her if she feels the pressure of having to be funny all the time and she says, "Thanks to my personality, comedy comes naturally to me. But when it's my time off, I consciously stay away. If I am asked to crack a joke, I say, I am not working."

Besides working on the next season of The General Fun Game Show, Surka is also scripting a web series for Amazon Prime. "The show deals with marriage. I am divorced and I am taking cues from my life to write the show. I will be acting in it as well," she says, adding that she has another improv show lined up for August.

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