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Radhika Vaz The Funny Lady


She stands on stage, dressed in a polka-dotted ‘70s summer dr4ess, a flimsy red scarf around her neck, forefinger hooked into a teacup. She looks so "ladylike”, you think. Then she starts speaking. About pretending to be bisexual to attract men, about the popular demands to be hairless, the perils of de-hairing, the indiscretions of flatulence and shifting globes of cellulite. Comedian Radhika Vaz does not subscribe to "ladylike” speech or sentiments, instead she voices every woman’s secrets. By revealing the deeply personal, she creates a community of shared foibles. The audience partakes of a sudden epiphany- we are all equally flawed, and flawed in a universal way.

Unladylike: The Pitfalls of Propriety, which debuted in New York in September 2010, returns to India, after sold0out performances six months ago. Created and performed by Vaz, the show, which combines sketch comedy with stand-up, has been directed and developed by Brock Savage. Playing the part of a genteel woman, Vaz creates detailed plots, imitate characters, mimes Lady Gaga, takes dramatic pauses, but keeps the punch line on a tight leash. She describes her uncle Natwar Singh, who has grasslands of hair on his back: "He has hair everywhere…(she pauses) except his scalp.” Prolific with cuss words in daily conversation, Vaz uses the F-word only once in the performance, believing that "swearing on stage can get old fast.”

Daughter of an Indian Air Force pilot, born in Mumbai, she has travelled across India, living in the cities of Pathankot, Secunderabad, Ghaziabad. Bareilly, Udhampur, Wellingtonand Hasimara. She went to boarding school in the Nilgiris, but could not return for class XI as she was deemed a "bad influence”. In school, Vaz would intentionally get into trouble, believing it would be funny for her and everyone else.

She grew up on the LPs of Bill Cosby and was influenced by funny movies, especially Nine To Five (1980), a comedy in which Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton take revenge on their bullying boss. "It was hilarious and I wanted to do that,” she says.

Following her heart and a man, she moved to the US in 2002, when she was 28. Looking for "something to do”, she took improve lessons in New York, and inspired by the talented and comic women at her class, she decided to take comedy seriously.

She went for every audition that came her way but found that she was not enjoying it. A few exciting projects like a supporting role in a Hollywood movie, The Triumph of William Henry Harrison and an off-Broadway play, A First Class Man, hobbled her way occasionally. "Because I love comedy so much, I thought- what if I write my own material and perform it? On the downside, I will fail miserably, and on the upside, I don’t have to audition for the part. Unladylike sort of started from there- form a place of anger and frustration which may career,” recounts Vaz.

Overall, as an excellent comedian, she is totally successful in his career.


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