Though by no means the barometer of India's comic talent, Kapil Sharma's show is somehow one of the most watched comedy programs in India. Among the primary cast of the show, there are 4 men, two of whom routinely play female characters. There are women in the cast as well. But apart from being mocked at, they do little else. Are women easier preys for jokes? However worthwhile, it's a debate for another time. For now, at a time when men are getting in drag to rake in the laughs, no wonder we're having a paucity of female comedians, right?
A journey back in time will show you, the entertainment industry has never lacked funny women. From films to TV shows, we've had a number of female artists tickling our funny bones.
From legendary actors like Tun Tun and Manorama to Shubha Khote and Guddi Maruti, we've seen plenty of examples on the big-screen. And when these women weren't making us laugh, we had mainstream heroines like Sridevi and Juhi Chawla who were known as much for their comic timing as their dramatic performances.
But when was the last time you saw a female actor as the main comedian in a Bollywood movie? Can't remember. I rest my case.
Even on social media, this phase of men-dressing-up-as-women is far from over. First, there was Gaurav Gera's Chutki and now, there's Ssumier Pasrcicha's Pammi Aunty. Thank God for Mallika Dua to give us some respite!
When it comes to TV, yes, there's Bharti Singh. But is there any other prominent face when it comes to comedy on TV? Let me know when you get one!
Thankfully, the scene in stand-up comedy is much better. Aditi Mittal is hilarious. So are Radhika Vaz and Neeti Palta. But aren't they still outnumbered by the boys? There's Kannan Gill along with Biswa Rath. There's Vir Das. There are the 4 AIB guys, too. And even before the list ends, the boys at 7 have already 'trumped' (Can't I cash in on this word too?) the 3 girls.
What's the problem, really? Is is that we think women aren't inherently funny? I've had the opportunity to watch both Aditi Mittal and Radhika Vaz perform live. And trust you me, not even one person in the audience was not laughing!
Is it that we've always considered comedy, just like every other thing, a male's domain? And they only way we like a woman's presence in such domains is when she's been mocked? Is that why Gutthi and Chutki are household names? Or we laugh every time the Dadi on Kapil's show comes out drunk, desperately wanting to kiss the male guests?
Even the highly-debated AIB Roast got the token woman on stage more for mocking her than having her mock others. And speaking of AIB, why don't they have even one girl in the gang? If you've seen their recent FML video, you'd know how Mallika Dua is the best part about it. Clearly, the boys need some female energy!
To make people laugh is a serious art. You need to know how to laugh at yourself and not necessarily on others. Humour is best when it's observational, topical and spoken with perfect timing. So, how is all this just a man's domain?