• Sunday, April 21, 2024

Arts and Culture

Aditi Mittal: A love-hate relationship with stand-up comedy

The comedian, who returns to the UK this week with her spirited new show Unalive, speaks about her journey, the pressures of performing live and revealing too much on stage

Aditi Mittal

By: Asjad Nazir

A fearless approach has enabled funny girl Aditi Mittal to make a fantastic impact.

The Indian stand-up comedian has had specials on Netflix and Amazon, along with performing internationally. She returns to the UK this week with her spirited new show Unalive at Soho Theatre in London from next Monday (12) to next Saturday (17).

Mittal tackles relatable topics in the laughter-filled special and was happy to discuss it with Eastern Eye. The cool comic also spoke about her journey, the pressures of performing live and revealing too much on stage.

How would you reflect on your journey in comedy? 

I reflect on my journey in comedy with a dirty, foggy mirror that I take mirror-selfies in. The mirror needs to be cleaned but I currently don’t have the time.

What has been your most memorable moment as a comedian?

My most memorable moments as a comedian have been coming up with answers for interview questions. Earlier I used to try to be overly serious, like I was answering God’s question paper at the entry of heaven. Now that I am confident I am going to hell, so tell the truth to them.

Do you remember the moment you fell in love with stand-up comedy?

I have a love-hate relationship with stand-up comedy. Love, because I don’t know how to do anything else, and will spend the rest of my life being grateful that I get to do this simple, honest, truthful art form. Hate because it’s my ‘job’. So, it causes me a lot of anxiety to think about ticket sales, career graph, and the possibility of acidity making me burp on the mic.

How much are you looking forward to performing at the Soho Theatre in London next week?

Very much. I am looking forward to the point of the fact that I have thought about nothing else for the past three months. I mean, I climbed Everest Base Camp last week, and while I was there, I kept thinking, ‘oh wow, life really does not get better than this’. And then I remembered that I have these shows at Soho Theatre, and thought, ‘Damn, I wish Soho had a branch on Mount Everest’. (I actually did climb the Everest Base Camp last week – the pictures are there on my Instagram).

What do you like most about performing in London?

I love performing in London because Londoners know good comedy – they have access to the world’s best comedians on BBC every day, so they are a damn discerning audience. If you can cut it in London as a comedian, you’ve worked hard.

What can we expect from your show in London?

A lot of laughs. The world changed in the past three years, and I’m going to talk about the new world we live in, and whether it’s different from the one we lived in before the pandemic.

Could you tell us how you feel before you go on stage? 

Sweaty. I worry about sweating because in the past whenever I have seen photographs of myself on stage, I always look like a river is flowing down from my scalp. It’s not a good look because I can never use those pics on (dating app) Hinge.

How much of your comedy is based on personal experiences?

All of it. After all, you can most confidently talk about your own experiences because you’re the one who had them. That’s what makes comedy compelling. If it’s about someone else, it rarely gets to the truth of the matter. But when it’s about you, more people are likely to see themselves in it because it will be closer to the truth.

Do you ever worry about revealing too much on stage?

All the time, and according to my mother, I always do. The display of vulnerability is one of the prime tenets of comedy. Who wants to see comedy about someone who is constantly winning at everything? If I wanted to do that, I’d read Forbes magazine.

What inspires you?

A pay cheque. That’s my number one reason for doing anything I do. When that money comes in, I use it to do things that will help me write new stories for my next show.

Has being funny ever helped you get out of trouble?

A lot. On a recent flight, I was being grilled because I ended up packing a power bank into my check-in luggage. They called me while I was boarding the flight and made me open up my suitcase. They asked, ‘Do you have a power bank in your luggage?’ And I went, ‘Oooh I forgot that I put it in there, it’s the only kind of full bank I have access to these days’. The security people laughed, made me take it out, and then we sat down and drank a coffee, while they asked me what I did for a living.

Who is your comedy hero?

My dad. I’m a big fan of how dads make their children laugh. Everyone hates dad jokes, but there is something so incredible about the innocence, silliness, and the intention of when a dad makes his kids laugh.

Why should we come to your show at the Soho Theatre in London?

Because you love a good laugh, and because I’m hilarious.

Aditi Mittal: Unalive at Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE from next Monday (12) to next Saturday (17). www.sohotheatre.com

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