The stage is set. There’s apprehension in the air. The audience awaits in pitiful hope for the woman about to take over the mic. She appears to be meek going by her dainty looks, or maybe a geek going by her spectacles, but she is neither. She is just another funny woman, taking over the world of stand-up comedy, one self-deprecating joke at a time.
Meet Prashasti Singh in this 3-minute video, which goes on to prove that women too, have the funny bone indeed. It takes a while to settle in, the sense of humour that is, the idea that humour is gender-neutral and can often come from smaller towns. That what she experienced on a dating app is not very deviating from what a funny male comedian would have. That her opinion on politicians and the politics of the nation is not different from the funny men on stage.
That a female comedian sharing her experience of shopping for bras or her opinion on sanitary napkin ads or fairness creams, may actually leave you in splits!
The low laughs end in guffaws and the audience has just discovered another budding comedian, a female comedian to be precise, one that is in minority.
But, this is soon going to change. Singh is a one of the shortlisted contestants at ‘Queens of Comedy’, an online nationwide hunt for female comedians by TLC India. The lifestyle channel is on the lookout for women who can leave us in splits, and while at it, compete with the funniest ones in the country’s first-of-its-kind female stand-up comedy show, to premiere in September.
Entries in the form of videos needed to be submitted at the online platform Queens of Comedy. The shortlisted ones now feature on the site and are open for public voting. The top 8 will be chosen by TLC to compete in the show. Interestingly, voting follows an emoticon index with varying points on the scale with ROFL, HaHa and Nay. The site displays live scores along with listing the T&Cs and about the show.
The show will be judged by the witty improviser Kaneez Surka, the AIB funny guy Rohan Joshi and actor Richa Chadda, popular for her comic timing. The show will be hosted by Varun Thakur aka Vicky Malhotra, the struggling actor.
A series of interesting films by The Glitch and OML have been rolled out for the digital promotions of the hunt. Armed with a generous dose of sarcasm, ‘Why men are funnier than women’ features Rohan and Varun as the quintessential group of men taking jibes at women and how they can never be as funny.
‘Why women can’t be funny’ is yet another take on existing norms around female sense of humour. Richa, Kaneez, Gauri enact the daily moments of truth where we women succumb to societal pressure and keep our sense of humour to ourselves, forever apologetic for even having funny thoughts.
TLC India has been leveraging its social media channels to spread the word, even as the celebrity judges and the host use their own social clout to amplify the buzz. The promo videos along with gifs have been shared on the brand’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages, tagging along #TLCQueensofComedy.
— TLC India (@TLCINOfficial) July 28, 2017
— TLC India (@TLCINOfficial) August 2, 2017
— TLC India (@TLCINOfficial) August 3, 2017
Comedy lets you be politically incorrect. Comedy lets you make hard-hitting points laced with humour, much like a sugar-coated pill. Comedy sets you free, and a society with equal number of stand-up comedians of either gender, can be said to be truly evolved. From the early 90’s, those Lola Kutty days to now, when the world has been exposed to plenty more funny female personalities breaking out in the male-dominated comedy circuit, it was just a matter of time and opportunity that a forward-thinking brand took up the cause.
A platform like ‘Queens of Comedy’ is the ideal way forward for a lifestyle channel targeting Gen Z. The thought process forming the central idea of the digital film promos is aligned with the existing blocks in our mind, ones that tell us that women can’t be funny, or that being funny is not very womanly!
TLC India has not only taken up the cause of hunting down the funniest women in the country, it has also won millennial hearts for being the brand paving the path for gender neutrality. I, for one, am really looking forward to the show.