Monday, August 8, 2022

Comedy is still a community rather than an industry: Sumukhi Suresh

The well-known stand-up comic writer and actor, Sumukhi Suresh, recently joined NewsX for a candid chat as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the exclusive conversation, the actor talked about her take on new comedians joining the industry, women in the field and much more.

Talking about where the stand-up comedy industry stands for women right now, the actor said, “I think the industry is still peaking. However, the excitement around it during the beginning has died down, it’s no longer your USP if you are a comic. You have to be a good comic, your content has to be good, it has to back you. You have to be someone who has new ways of telling something. A YouTube clip going viral is no longer your biggest credit because of course, stand-up is going to be watched. Right now women in the industry have arrived at a stage where there are different voices when it comes to stand-up. Different girls talking about different situations is very exciting. Also, most of the female comedians are from metro cities which gives them easy access to open mic, but there are girls from smaller cities who are way funnier than we are, but they don’t have access right now. There are various logistical issues here. The thing about comedy is that it is very closely knit. It is still a community rather than an industry.” Sumukhi also urged the pubic to invest more in female stand-up comedians and come watch them live.

Sharing her opinion on the pros and cons of performing live and through social media, Sumukhi exclaimed, “There are two ways to look at it. I think social media is good for us because we reach a wider audience and then it converts into people buying tickets and people coming. However, you cannot replace the thought of live shows. The Covid pandemic took something really interesting away for us because we were performing live shows and the thing about stand-up is that there is an absolute high to be performing in front of an audience. That particular validation is very important for us. Also, live shows are not easy. The audience always knows what to laugh at and whatnot. So, it is a giant reminder that doesn’t get comfortable. Live shows cannot replace social media at all, just like social media cannot replace live shows. We have tried to adapt to new ways, but we can’t wait to perform on stage.”

When asked how she feels about new comedians entering the industry, the actor revealed, “It is always good to have new comics coming in because it means that if more people are coming in, there are going to be more people who are coming to watch it. Of course, we want to up our game, write better and perform better. About competition, there is some competition, but not with newer comics because I am still competing with my peers only.”

Talking about mentoring the newcomers, she said “Comics can’t be mentored, comics can only be guided and given feedback once in a while, especially for women. My longest collaboration is with Sumaira Shaikh, I just directed her stand-up special, ‘Dongri danger’ which is going on Amazon Prime videos. More than competing with her, I am so envious of her observations and her punch lines in a very positive way.”

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