“When I meet men, they often ask me ‘Shreya, why don’t you draw something for me, babe?’ So, what I do is I draw a line,” says one of many female comedians who perform at Femapalooza, a female-exclusive night of humour. Yes, you heard that right; this is a show strictly meant for women, where men are banned from even checking tickets, let alone perform or even attend it. This is purely a show for women, and by women comedians. The punchlines range from thongs to PMS to equal pay and censorship.
Femapalooza: the brainchild of Jeeya Sethi
Femapalooza is the brainchild of Jeeya Sethi, who has donned many hats: actor, stand-up comedian, improviser and producer. For her, humour just for women is a way to make progress in a deeply patriarchal Indian society. A society where rape and gender bias are hot-button issues and women are widely expected to adhere to conservative stereotypes. It basically works on the principle that you are a woman and so is your entire audience, so you can shed all your inhibitions and talk on any topic that you like. The best part? They would totally empathize with you.
35 shows and counting
There have been other acclaimed women-only shows such as “Leddis Night” by online magazine Ladies Finger and “Disgust Me” by stand-up comedian Sumukhi Suresh. Femapalooza too, has organised more than 35 shows in different cities over the past three years. It offers “a safe and friendly environment for women comics” as Jeeya puts it.
At the show held in New Delhi, 13 comedians, aged between 17 and 37, tried out their jokes on an audience of around 30 women. Setup was an intimate, dimly lit room. Some of them were apprehensive about the response from the crowd, but the women in the audience laughed on every punchline. That was indeed a relief for the performers. Punchlines like “Women don’t enjoy wearing thongs… I am pretty sure a man invented them,” got roaring laughter from the crowd.
Many of the performers, especially first-timers feel that they are more comfortable sharing their jokes with a women-only crowd. Why? Because there’s no pressure to please men. It was not only the first-timers or the amateurs though, the New Delhi show, also had a surprise act lined up – Aditi Mittal. She is the one of the very few female stand-up comedians who has been able to prove that women can be funny too and they are!
Male comics & comics
After the male comics ‘complained’ about the women-only events, Jeeya went ahead and organised one where both men and women performed. That was not without a twist though; the show introduced men as male comics on stage and women simply as comics, Sethi said, to show “how weird it sounds”.
Platforms such as Femapalooza have helped bring more women onto the comedy circuit. Its audience has grown as word has spread, and rightly so. After all, why should boys have all the fun!
Fortunately, the next FemaPalooza event is happening soon!
Date & Time: 14 Oct, 5:30 PM & 7:30 PM
Venue: Dance Theatre Godrej: NCPA, Mumbai
Tix: ₹708 Onwards
Cast: Jeeya Sethi, Sonali Thakker, Aishwarya Mohanraj, Niveditha Prakasam, Pavitra Shetty & Aditi Mittal
The 4th time at NCPA FemaPalooza is back with a finest line-up that will certainly leave you rolling on the floor laughing. Take your mothers, sisters, MILs, daughters, granddaughters, and BFFs to this unique show, a ladies night out should be like this!
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