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Raunchiest Woman - Betwa Sharma


{By Special Permission @ Vocativ}


India’s Raunchiest Funny

Woman: 12 Questions for

Radhika Vaz



Betwa Sharma-fnbworlda  #Betwa Sharma

#Radhika Vaz-Older, Angrier, Hairier-#fnbworld


The India-born comedian talks about blow jobs, leaving New York City and her new show, "Older, Angrier and Hairier."


NEW DELHI: Radhika Vaz belongs to a rare breed of Indian comedians: She’s raunchy. She’s also a woman, which makes tackling subjects like blow jobs and pussy farts even more taboo.


“My dear husband…seems to think farting is unladylike,” Vaz said some four years ago when I caught her show in New York City. “But me squatting on the floor, tongue juggling his bean bags is not.”


Radhika Vaz-fnbworld


 Radhika Vaz


In that show, Unladylike, Vaz sported a polka-dot dress and a prim and proper demeanor as she mocked the expectations and double standards for women in India and the United States.


“We’re not given permission early on in our lives to go out there and be ridiculous,” Vaz said in an interview with Andaaz, a South Asian TV show. “We’re kind of told to sit back and be pretty and beautiful. I did that for many years. I was just beautiful and quiet. And now, fuck that, I’m just out there.”


After living for 15 years in New York, Vaz recently moved back to India with her husband and is currently staying here with in-laws, who belong to the Jat community, a conservative clan in India.


We spoke the other day about blow jobs and her new show before its opening in Delhi.

 Radhika Vaz-fnbworld

Why did you move back to India?


For me moving back to India wasn’t something that I wanted to do. It happened because [my husband] always wanted to come back. I never had a strong opinion of where I wanted to live. I was raised by the air force. I moved all the time as a child. I never had any strong attachments to any goddamn place.


I was surprised at how much I missed New York when I moved because I didn’t expect it. But I was very curious to be back and see what India was like. I was curious to see in what direction my mind would go. Now I am very curious to see what my next show is going to be and how it’s going to be influenced by everything around me now.


In your first show you talked a lot about the double standards that exist for men and women. Are they different for Indians and Americans?


You know a dad would be proud of his son if he runs around town screwing women, but a dad would not be proud of his daughter. He wouldn’t say, “Well, look at my daughter! She is the whore bag of the town! Look at her go!” I think that idea is universal.


But most Indian parents are really conservative with guys, too.


To a lesser extent. I feel like we’re more forgiving in general with guys. I live right now with my lovely Jat in-laws. My niece is 23 and my nephew is 18. And their reactions to those two children doing the same thing is completely different. My nephew had a whole bunch of his friends come over and stay the night. They stayed up very late. My mother-in-law was very amused by it. But if my niece did the same thing, I know that it wouldn’t be amusing.


How do women in New York and Delhi react differently at your shows?


What women are like with men around, and how we are as a group when they are not, are two night-and-day bloody different things. And that is true everywhere in the world.


When a group of girls come without guys, they will love [the show]. But every time I had a mixed audience with an equal number of women and men, corporate shows when people bring their spouses, then there was a bit of quietness, as if they had never pussy farted in their lives.


Why talk about blow jobs and pussy farts at all?


The point of the blow job [bit] was how women are expected to be highly sexualized. I certainly went through a phase of being concerned about it, and many women like me, we need to project this slightly sexy vibe. So I talk about how I would pretend to be bisexual because I had figured out that guys thought that was sexy. And then I realized that I was being one-uped by all these women who were running around saying that they like giving blow jobs.


 Radhika Vaz


And the pussy farting thing?


Because someone has to. No, I’m just not kidding. When I started I had to talk about what I find funny. I’ve always found sex and bodily functions entertaining, and I think I find it funny because it is a little bit taboo. I try to provoke and see the reaction, and I think all comedians should push for the “I cannot believe she said that.”


I mean what do you tell a man when it’s coming out of your vagina? I remember when it happened to me the first time in front of a guy. He didn’t know what was going on. I had not had a lot of sexual experience at the time, but he had even less, and I could sense that he had no idea what just happened. And I was like, “Oh, my God, he’s going to think I’m a freak.”


Who influences you?


Every time I have a show I watch a lot of comedy while I’m writing because I need to keep being inspired. My first show I watched a lot of women: Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, Ellen DeGeneres, Paula Poundstone, Ayesha Taylor.


Then the second show I was watching a lot of male comedians: Bill Hicks, Chris Rock, Ricky Gervais. Patrice O’Neal—he is dead now, but something about his style really got me, and I just wanted to be him. He’s a big, black, offensive comedian, but he talks about race a lot, and he is very smart about how he does it.



Lets talk about your new show, Older, Angrier and Hairier. What’s it all about?


Unladylike was about to the age of my early 30s. But this show I wanted to look at what I had noticed about my life between 30 and 40.


[There are] three observations that I make. The first one is about cleaning and how women are the moral gatekeepers of society. We are the ones who have to see to the hygiene of the child, husband and house.


The second piece is about bearing children—just the enormous pressure women face to have children, and how society makes that choice for us. So its not just about having children; its about but wanting to have children. So if for some reason you can’t have a child, that’s OK. But how can a woman not want to have children? Then you’re a real freak.


Didn’t your husband and in-laws want kids?


It didn’t just come from my in-laws (my parents put zero pressure). It came from society. The truth of the matter is that, I can’t speak for all husbands, but [my husband] is a practical guy, and he knew that this would have to be my decision. He was game to go one way or the other.


 Radhika Vaz

Radhika Vaz with her dad and his purse (Radhika Vaz Blog)

And what about leaving someone behind for posterity?


I’m going to be dead, man, I wouldn’t know. And what if I have a shitty kid, and I leave that behind? And then like looking at earth and saying, well, I left you guys a lump of shit.


What’s the third part of your show about?


It’s about age. Aging is different for women than it is for men. I’m almost 41 now. I also have a lot of male friends who are 40 and single, and they hook up with much younger girls, Indian and not Indian. That’s totally normal—and the reverse is not. Men can still procreate when their 80, hook up with girls in their 20s, and its all perfectly acceptable


Is there anyone else in India who is doing your kind of work?



There are female comedians, if that is the question. I know two. I don’t know them too well, but I know them. I guess we are all competing. We have different acts and different takes on things. The only thing I can say is that I wish there were more women in comedy in India. And I think it will grow.


[Betwa Sharma is the India bureau chief for Vocativ, a New York - based global social news outlet].

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