Christopher Hitchens once claimed that women aren’t as funny as men. If it were true then India would have never witnessed brilliant stand up comedy by Radhika Vaz, Aditi Mittal, Neeti Palta, Anuradha Menon, Mallika Dua, and many more.
Making people laugh is a talent, one that cannot be defined by your gender or the skin of your colour.
Recently, a leading magazine did a profile of Indian stand up comedy as an anniversary special and spoke to 9 men and 1 woman. While all the men interviewed made it to the cover, the one woman interviewed did not make the cut.
This is what the cover looked like.
An accidental blunder? We don’t think so.
The internet is rightly outraged. Indian comedy scene is bursting with talent, with both men and women making their mark and ticking our funny bone.
About time we gave female comedians, the respect they rightly deserve. Aditi Mittal took to Twitter to express her displeasure.
1. I did get a call for this interview but the journo only asked me questions about sexism-making it very clear that comments on “comedy”— Aditi (@awryaditi) December 25, 2017
2. Are for the men to make. I’m pretty sick of journos still pretending that sexism is only a women’s issue and that repeatedly asked the— Aditi (@awryaditi) December 25, 2017
3. journo to do her research. I’m not surprised or hurt that this has happened. This is the norm. And apart from Varun Grover who is— Aditi (@awryaditi) December 25, 2017
4. Seeing, acknowledging & trying to fix the layers of sexism in our industry in the most proactive way- there are no other men who speak up— Aditi (@awryaditi) December 25, 2017
The problematic cover was soon trolled on Twitter with many people criticising the magazine for its bias.
Varun Grover who was one of those 9 men interviewed also took to Twitter to express his resentment.
Ashamed & sorry to be on this cover. Gross neglect of so many terrific female comics all over India. The journalist called with some questions for a generic story on Indian comedy scene. Didn’t know it’s for the cover or anything. https://t.co/zecsc4TeIk— वरुण (@varungrover) December 25, 2017
Not just it’s an incorrect representation of the gender ratio in the comedy scene but it also consolidates the stereotype. A stereotype that may dissuade more women from pursuing comedy. Horrible stuff @TheWeek.— वरुण (@varungrover) December 25, 2017
There are many mind-blowing female comedians in India.
They could have easily had Radhika Vaz and perhaps even Neeti Palta on the list.— Dirk t’Larien (@prathamensch) December 25, 2017
Time we took our funny women seriously.