Being a comedian doesn't quite warrant a charmed life. Add to it the extra ingredients of being a woman—and in India, and the number of obstacles on the course just triple. But Aditi Mittal manages to laugh all the way to the bank doing it—and cracking everybody else up along the way as well.
"You have to become best friends with failure—it'll keep coming at you fast and thick. I'd say that comedy is probably has the highest failure-rate, as professions go," she tells us. "It's gross to say 'it's a struggle' and people who know me say 'eh, stop whining'. But to act like it's not is bullsh*t. To pretend, also, like comedy is not a gendered club is disrespectful to both gender and comedy!" she laughs.
"When you're a woman comedian, you deal with so many stereotypes on the daily. I get so many random messages saying 'why do women abuse so much, ya?' If the person had even watched my show, they'd realise I never actually do. We also constantly deal with the misconception that we're really 'aggressive and sexual'. It's hard to make any kind of joke about sex in this country, because we're terribly repressed. And because you're a woman, they also assume you'll be doing 'female comedy' (and what the hell is that, jokes about sanitary pads?)"
She attributes her ability to stay fearless to like-minded comedians in the business. "It's people who get comedy, like Vir Das and Sorabh Pant, that keep my head up because they've realised that there is no space for subtlety or 'grey' in Indian comedy—there is only black and white. I'm grateful that there are people who, despite that, find us funny and keep us doing comedy."