While stand up comedy is setting its pace in India, more men are getting into it. It is one of the fastest growing professions. Its a relatively easy profession to pursue as it does not require any financial investment and there are no entry barriers. The comedians deal with topics taken from the roots of desi culture to creative riffs on the political environment.
However, only few of the upcoming stand up comedians are women. Making others laugh, like any other profession, has become male dominant.
Is there a comedy show in India that is exclusive for women? Surprisingly there is. Femapalooza is a comedy show which is set up by the women and is only for women. Men are strictly banned and they are not even allowed to attend, perform, even check tickets there.
Femapalooza provides greater performing spaces for women, a wide platform to express their thoughts in a comic manner. It's an exclusive comedy show for women where the taglines range from breasts and bras to equal pay and recognition in society.
According to the founder of Femapalooza, Jeeya Sethi, humour for women is just a way to make some progress in a society where rapes and gender bias are streaming now and where women are expected to adhere to the norms of the so called 'male chauvinist society'.
Over the past three years Femapalooza has organised more than 35 shows in different cities across the country. The show set up at New Delhi recently witnessed 13 comedians aged between 17 and 37 trying out their jokes on their audience consisting of 30 women.
"Stand up is all about being unabashed. When there are women around you can say anything at all and not be judged," says Sethi.
One of the performers Priya Alias, a former lawyer, unleashed her resentment with thongs: "women don't enjoy wearing thongs. I am pretty sure that a man invented them," she joked.
Another performer Barton, a digital publisher with a major firm, said that when she talks about premenstrual syndrome and how it affects her mental health and lands her in funny situation women can understand it.
They also talk about those funny girlish things without the pressure of pleasing men. New artists also find it easy to perform as they are addressing the kindred spirits.
But male comedians have regarded this women-only-shows as sexist, said Sethi. So her company Comedy ladder has organised stage performance where both men and women could perform.
Femapalooza has made a mark even though it does not acquire a five-star rating. It's time for the women to laugh out loud.