Aditi Mittal is funny. It isn’t just that she knows how to crack a good joke, but she is a wizard when it comes to landing punchlines during seemingly mundane conversations, which end up taking you by surprise and leaving you in splits.
Unapologetic, unafraid to speak her mind, clever, and yes, very funny. That’s why Aditi has stormed her way to the top regardless of what her critics (or Twitter trolls) have to say. Apart from headlining comedy tours across the world, today she also has her own radio show titled Beginner’s Guide to India, on BBC 4. She also plans on writing a book, but it may have to wait a while because she is simply too busy. The world’s her stage and we are all her audience — laughing along with her.
Here are excerpts from when we caught up with Aditi for a quick chat and a dozen laughs.
On realising her celebrity status:
The other day I walked down the street to a nearby shop in my pyjamas, and this woman who I don’t even know stops me to say that she also lives near my place and would love to have me over for lunch as she is a huge fan. That’s unbelievable for me. But that’s the power of comedy — it creates that human connection. There is this intimacy that makes you think that you know this person. One second I am walking down the street, the next I am getting asked if I eat vegetarian food or not. It’s insane!
On why she loves her job:
I do stand-up because I don’t know how to do anything else. For me the sound of laughter is the ultimate approval. During my first year when I tried breaking into the world of comedy, I struggled a lot but it was that laughter from the audience that intoxicated me and kept me coming back. I have always wanted to write and do something in this world. I still can’t believe I get to do this every day.
On how comedy starts important conversation on taboo subjects:
Female comedian is not a genre. Why should my gender be brought into the conversation? People think that I should perform in front of a female audience because I talk about subjects like menstruation or the experience of shopping for bras. But those issues are part of life and shouldn’t be alien to men. These subjects should be funny to everyone. Even if some of these subjects are considered taboo by society, comedy is the perfect way to start a conversation because it eliminates embarrassment. You can talk about them then.
On being labelled “angry”:
When I say something, it immediately gets called a rant. I am really not angry! I am not pissed off either. I am joking. They incorrectly label it a rant and that’s irritating.
On Twitter being her “foot-in-the-mouth” ground:
Twitter is not my stomping ground; it is my foot-in-my-mouth ground. When I tweet something, invariably someone will say that I am not funny and then someone else will say the exact opposite. The mentions I get are sometimes hilariously contradictory. But at the end of the day, it’s my Twitter handle and I owe no one an explanation. But it’s a great learning ground for me to see what’s acceptable and what’s not.
On why she values integrity:
Comedy is the closest you can get to truth, sometimes things can get lost in context and people might misunderstand even your sarcasm. It can cause problems and make people angry. But that’s why you should have integrity. At the end of the day, I know who I am and what I meant by my words. You have to have the courage to stand by your words. You have to bring your A-game and be ready to challenge your audience. The only way to find out what you can and cannot say (in terms of hurting other people’s sentiments) is to go ahead and say it. You don’t make fun of something unless you love it.
And I love it. I love it all.