I catch her amidst peals of laughter. She throws her head back and bam! It makes contact with the vanity mirror behind her. “Oh sh**!” she yelps, still laughing, as she reaches over to rub the back of her head. In a flash, I’m at her side, rubbing the back of her head with her. No time for pleasantries. No time for introductions. She’d just hit her head on the mirror behind her and she needed me. As her laughter subsides, I look her dead in the eye and quietly proclaim, “We’re best friends now.”
And that, kids, was the beginning of how I got to sit across from Aditi Mittal, one of India’s highest rated stand-up comedians, and ask, “A penguin wearing a sombrero walks through the door right now, what does he say and why?”
See? I told you we were best friends! But kids, here’s the story of how that came to be.
A couple of weeks ago, I was sent (read: I begged to be sent) by The Punekar to attend Comic Relief, a stand-up comedy show organised by Round Table India and interview Aditi Mittal. A chance to have a fun conversation with one of the most one fun people in the country? I was so there!
Here’s what transpired, post head rub and initial introductions.
Namrata: I’m not going to ask you questions about how you started and who your inspirations were.
Aditi: Oh thank God! I’m so sick of answering those questions.
Namrata: Instead I’m going to ask you some really fun questions.
Aditi: Awesome! Let’s have them!
If you had a vanity license plate, what would it read?
8008. Because I’m a five year old.
What’s the most embarrassed you’ve been in recent times?
Oh, this is easy! I was doing a show and a 10 year old kid walked in. And I thought, “Oh my God, I have to engage with this kid.” So I’m ready with a full collection of Dora The Explorer references and I wanted to go prepared into this conversation and I went, “Hey, what’s your favourite TV show?” He goes, “Sanskaar!” I was done. I have never been dumbfounded by a child before.
What’s your spirit animal?
I’m a lemur. You know, deep down I believe I’m a lemur. I’m like one of those tiny creatures that are constantly like, “Hey! What’s going on, guys? Hey what’d I miss? What’s going on? Where are we going? Can I come? Can I be a part of it? Are we cool?” Yep, I’m a lemur. I want to be a part of everything.
Do you have any pre-show rituals or superstitions?
Actually I have a favourite bra which I’m wearing right now. And it’s one of those. Let’s just say I cannot ever go from a show to a hookup. I will have to stop on the way and buy a new bra or at least change. Oh! Even chaddis. I have to wear my grandma chaddis and grandma bra because I don’t want my body parts getting in the way when I’m on stage.
What would your epitaph say?
I’m still alive. No wait, that’s really deep. The journey of me and my ‘eggs’.
What’s your groupie situation?
None sadly. Nobody comes for women in comedy! I go out and sometimes it’s a graveyard. And then I go home and cry. But there was once this guy who’d send me flowers after a show. Sadly, he’d never write his name on the card, so I didn’t really know who it was! So for all I knew, it was another comic sending me flowers to make me feel better about nobody turning up for my show! But what has happened through stand-up is that I’ve made some really good friends.
What would your biography be called?
“She came for the sex and stayed for the research.”
Oh and what’d the penguin say? Ola!