Comedy is scary for everyone. But it’s especially scary when your audience yells at you to make them sandwiches as soon as you walk onstage. Although it sounds too cartoonishly misogynistic to be a true story, such is sometimes the reality of Aditi Mittal’s career as one of India’s only female stand-up comedians. A troublemaker since her days at the St. Mary’s Boarding School in Pune, India, where she became “a connoisseur of shoe flavors” by putting her foot in her mouth so often, she found her calling in Mumbai’s nascent comedy scene. Her comedy provokes at the same time as it pleases, but judging by her success, she may not be as “deviant from the norm,” as an elderly audience member once insisted to her after a show.
“I just want to tell jokes. I want to be in rooms where people laugh. And I want to tell truths.” – Aditi Mittal
Among other acts, she’s known for her provocative sex-doctor character, Mrs. Lutchuke, a well-meaning older woman who has gained notoriety for her “Guide to Losing Your Virginity.” She recently performed a one-woman show at the Canvas Laugh Factory (formerly Comedy Store) in Mumbai, where she is a regular. She also appears on CNN-IBN’s Phenking News with Cyrus Broacha, and is a staple on political satire show Jay Hind. Aditi was one of the founding members of the Ghanta Awards and the Filmfail Awards, two of the biggest parody award shows in India. The Times of India has dubbed her “One of the Top 10 Comedians in India,” and CNNIBN India states that she’s one of a “top 30” group of intelligent, funny women to follow on Twitter.
“In general, when people come to see me they can expect to see a girl on stage with a mike.” What you can really expect is surgically sharp commentary about sex, politics and culture delivered with the aplomb of a true professional. Just don’t expect a sandwich.
Q&A with Aditi
What was your favorite moment or experience shooting Stand Up Planet?
I think it was every single one. Meeting Bill Cosby was obviously incomparable. Visiting the kids at SNEHA in Mumbai was a close second. I still chat with some of them. And of course, the final show. When we went out to take a bow. I was feeling completely sentimental about Xandra and David and Caty and everyone.
How did your friends and family react when you told them you wanted to be a stand-up comic?
I didn’t really mention it to a lot of ppl. Coz I wasn’t sure I would work. My family still thinks that one day I will settle down and get an actual job and stop being a “joker.” My friends were all excited for me. They have subjected to all my ‘comedy’ all their lives so they were thrilled that they would not be the only ones getting tortured into listening to me.