Radhika Vaz knew she was a bonafide comic when she performed in a theatre with no greenroom toilet. “I had to pee into a coffee cup and dispose it off after the show,” says the standup comedian, one of India’s best-known faces in the world of comedy.
While her comedy journey started about nine years ago when she turned 36, Radhika has been much talked about in the news in the past few years for her sold-out shows, opinionated tweets and editorial pieces, accolades such as the Gotham Independent Film Award for her web series Shugs & Fats, and for going completely nude on screen for an ad campaign about not following trends.
Her most iconic performance, however, continues to be Unladylike, in which she presents herself as a very elegant lady talking about private things that well-groomed women don’t usually talk about – such as body hair and queefs. (Editor’s challenge: go for the show and see if you can keep a straight face even hours later.)
After the show sold out in places as far as New York, Dubai and Singapore, Radhika published her memoir with the same title three years ago.
Stating that “anything boring, dull or old-fashioned is ladylike,” Radhika believes there is no difference between femininity and womanhood: “It is what each female makes of it.”
With her constant challenging of gender roles and expectations, watching her performances leaves you both tickled and thoughtful.
It’s not only her words on stage that provoke; Radhika also captures eyeballs with her actions. When she shot in the nude for ecommerce brand FabAlley’s #Unfollow campaign, the video went viral for understandable reasons.
But Radhika herself is pragmatic about it: “It was an advertisement. I was paid to write and copy and perform in it. It was a great gig. Working with female clients, I felt free to do whatever I wanted. So I felt free to take most of my clothes off!”
How does her family respond to her crazy antics on stage – and the fact that she often pokes fun at many of them, including her father, husband and mother-in-law? “So far so good. No one has cut me out of a will. That I know of.”
First published in the July 2018 issue of eShe magazine