Five men, one women and the topic of sexism in the Indian comedy industry. What could go wrong?

Panel on sexism in comedy demonstrates the concept Men talk over the only woman speakerScreenshot/YouTube
Social Sexism Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 15:05

Sexism, the all-pervasive concept that plagues women in almost every sphere day after day. And the Indian comic industry is no different. So, when film critic Anupama Chopra gathered some of the most celebrated Indian comics in February to discuss sexism in their line of work, the results were bound to be insightful.

And insightful they were.

The panel members included Aditi Mittal, Biswa Kalyan Rath, Kanan Gill, Vipul Goyal, Tanmay Bhat, and Zakir Khan. The discussion turned to sexism in the comedy industry when Anupama brought up Amazon Prime, the newly launched video streaming platform, which has signed 14 male comics to release hour-long specials.

Ironically it was the men who on the panel that began to explain why not a single female stand-up comedian was signed up by Amazon Prime.

Vipul Goyal launched into an explanation with the disclaimer, “I don’t know whether I am the right person to speak on this” and went on to say that the 14 men just happened to be in the line up because it was a deal between Amazon and OML artists. He then said that women comics just didn’t have one hour worth of material. 

The baton then passed on to Tanmay Bhat of AIB, who admitted that Aditi and other women should have been part of the Amazon line-up too.

At this moment, as Tanmay continues talking about the need for more representation of women comics, Aditi has picked up her cup and begins to sip her drink leisurely, as the men continue to mansplain sexism in their industry. Way to throw some shade, girl!

Finally, Anupama comes to Aditi, after Biswa has offered his two cents by saying that the 14 male comics being there was an “unfortunate” and a “situational outcome”. Aditi goes on to handle the issue like a boss and some much needed snarkiness.

She points out that there is lack of investment in women getting into comedy and that women are not given the space to go from doing open mics to hour-long performances. 

“There’s always a bro code, a boy gang,” she says, referring to how male-dominated the Indian comedy scene still is.

She also talks about her own journey, and how she decided to do things on her own because she had to make her place in the industry. “I wouldn’t be sitting here if I hadn’t distanced myself and insisted that I do things on my own and not shut up,” she says.

Aditi points out how she isn’t the only woman comic in the industry right now (we couldn't help but notice how she's the only one invited to the panel though). After another round of inputs by the men, Aditi sarcastically says how she’s learning so much about being a woman in comedy from everyone on the table.

Watch the video, released by Film Companion here:

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