Comedy is a serious business they say, and rightly so. Stand up comedy is receiving a cult-like following in India right now. Today, it is not just limited to Bollywood; it’s everywhere! YouTube, social media, Amazon Prime, Netflix to name a few platforms. In the last few years, the stand-up comedy industry has given us some brilliant talents! Supriya Joshi is one such gem. A stand-up comedian, actor and writer (also an amazing singer, just FYI), Supriya Joshi was one of the finalists of Comicstaan 2, a stand-up comedy competition.
I got an opportunity to interview this supaarwoman!
Suman Saurav: Although it’s very unlikely that someone doesn’t know who you are, but how would you like to introduce yourself to those of our audiences who might not be aware of your work?
Supriya Joshi: My name is Supriya, I’m a 33-year-old stand-up comedian and writer from Mumbai. I’m known online through my moniker—supaarwoman. I’ve been working in the comedy space since 2016, and I’ve written several comedy sketches, a TV show, acted in a web series and more recently, was a finalist in Season 2 of Comicstaan.
Suman Saurav: What is the one thing about stand up comic scene in India that you love and what’s the one thing that you’re not really fond of?
Supriya Joshi: I love that there is space for all kinds of voices and all kinds of genres of comedy. A lot of new and unique voices are emerging, and it’s always exciting to see what they are coming up with. Many producers (especially The Grin Revolution, here in Mumbai) are programming concept shows, and they are so much fun to do! There’s nothing I particularly dislike about the scene here, just that it isn’t a sustainable source of income, especially if you’re just starting out. You cannot quit your job and pursue stand up comedy full time because it just doesn’t pay.
Suman Saurav: You have talked about being an introvert and having social anxiety on your Instagram. Being in the stand-up business where you have to put yourself out there quite often, how do you take care of your mental health?
Supriya Joshi: An introvert with social anxiety can thrive the most on stage, because it’s the one place that you have the complete freedom to be yourself. These things haven’t caused me a lot of distress, but sometimes when it becomes too overwhelming, I stop doing stand up until I feel better. The longest break I have taken so far has been close to three months. And returning back to stage after that was a great moment… I don’t think there’s any shame in taking a break sometimes. It’s a very competitive market, but if someone likes you, they’ll wait for you.
Suman Saurav: About 2 years ago you addressed the topic of being body-shamed through a Twitter thread and that inspired me a lot! You have always been very vocal about a lot of other issues like battling PCOS or being bullied in school. What would you like to say to someone who is going through the same thing?
Supriya Joshi: I learnt a simple lesson a long time ago: self-love is the most important thing in the world. And self-love isn’t narcissism. To love yourself is to accept yourself, exactly the way you are. If you feed into negativity, you’re not allowing yourself to live your best life. The more you love yourself, the stronger you become and the lesser people’s opinions matter to you. Remember that everything in this world is temporary, and beauty is the most subjective thing in this world. Also, remember that others opinion of you is not a definition of you, but a reflection of them… so live your best life. Because the way the polar ice caps are melting, it’s not going to be too long.
Also read: The F-word And Stand-Up Comedy
Suman Saurav: How do you deal with trolls?
Supriya Joshi: I don’t. There’s really no need for me to. If someone’s taken time out of their day to troll me, that’s on them. I don’t have the time or the mental space for anything that isn’t positive or productive for me.
Suman Saurav: The concept of stand-up comedy has become really popular in the last few years and the art itself has evolved a lot. We have seen some amazing stand-up artists come out in the recent past. However, the ratio of male to female comic in the stand-up comedy sector, like every other sector in the world, is still far from being equal. Why do you think that is the case?
Supriya Joshi: Here are some reasons:
1. Many women are unable to do stand up comedy because convincing their parents is difficult. Stand up is still, somewhere, considered a male profession, so parents might not let them go.
2. Stand up comedy happens in the evenings and can stretch into late hours. This can be considered a safety concern for some women who don’t feel comfortable travelling late.
3. Most women have internalized the patriarchal notion of “we are not good enough” comedians, so while they may be very funny, they won’t feel funny enough to do stand up comedy. I have felt the same way, and all it took was one open mic to make me realise that hey… I *am* good enough. Maybe even better.
Also read: Zakir Khan’s Haq Se Single And The Underlying Glamourisation Of Bro Culture In Comedy
It’s important that celebrities and social media influencers talk about things not always being perfect and just “keep it real” with their followers, and it’s so heartwarming to see Supriya Joshi doing just that. More power to this Supaarwoman!
FII thanks Supriya Joshi for taking time out to do the interview. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Featured Image Source: Instagram
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