• Saturday, December 02, 2023


Urooj Ashfaq: Watching really good comedy makes me want to do it

UK audiences will get a chance to experience the comedian’s stage mastery with her new show Oh No! at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe throughout August

Urooj Ashfaq

By: Asjad Nazir

TALENTED young Indian stand-up comedian Urooj Ashfaq has been entertaining audiences with her unique brand of humour and getting a great reputation on the live circuit.

UK audiences will get a chance to experience that stage mastery with her new show Oh No! at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe throughout August, along with a preview at Soho Theatre in London from July 25-29. The show sees her dissect family, love, things she hates and therapy. Eastern Eye caught up with the fast rising star from Mumbai to discuss all things comedy and her new show.

What connected you to comedy?
The first time I made someone laugh I thought ‘this is nice, I want to do more of it’. I did do more of it, people around me laughed, but not all the time and then it was like an addiction. I kept trying to get the laughing sound out of people until I started doing it professionally in the form of stand-up comedy.

How do you feel being on stage in front of a live audience?
I feel a spectrum of emotions ranging from pure joy to pure humiliation depending on how the show is going and I love all of it.

How much are you looking forward to being part of the Edinburgh Fringe?
It’s the only thing I will be thinking about till August 28 when I’m finally done. So, a lot.

Could you tell us about your Edinburgh Fringe show?
My show is about things that have happened with me, to me, at me, around me, inside me. That’s the gist.

How much of the show is based on personal experiences?
Around 80 per cent of my show is based on personal experience and then there are 20 per cent random jokes that I really like.

Do you know a joke is going to be funny before you perform it in front of an audience?

I mean I perform the joke because I think it is funny, but I find out only on stage if others think the same, which definitely determines the fate of the joke.

Who is your comedy hero?
I find it a little emotionally risky to idolise just one person so here’s a list! Sarah Silverman, Bridget Christie, Josie Long, Mindy Kaling, Bill Burr, James Acaster, Stewart Lee, Norm Macdonald, Aparna Nancherla. (There are so many more but that would be an article in itself)

Is there a particular part of the show that’s a favourite?
Yes, the part where I read a little bit of my diary from seventh standard.

What inspires you as a comedian and a writer?
Watching really good comedy makes me also want to do it. I am most definitely inspired by the good work I see and my own life experiences.

Has being funny ever helped you in real life?
Yes, I usually got out of trouble in my childhood by making adults around me laugh, which would immediately ease whatever punishment they were about to give me for whatever dumb thing I had just done. Now making people laugh is generally helpful because they come to your shows and then you can buy food, pay rent, and get insurance.

Why should we watch your new show?
I believe everyone should come and watch my show because it would make me very happy, and greatly enhance the quality of my life if everyone kept buying tickets to everything I did. I think if you’re in a place in your life where you’re not sure what to do, aren’t able to do anything for yourself or simply don’t feel happy, then just come to my show, because at least you know for sure that this is something that would make me happy.

Urooj Ashfaq: Oh No! at Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE from July 25-29; and The Crate, Assembly George Square Gardens, Edinburgh EH8 9LH, August 2-14 and 16-27 www.sohotheatre.com & www.edfringe.com

Eastern Eye

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