Talk with the humor comedy queen Saadiya Ali
• How did you begin your journey as a stand up comedian Saadiya?
~ Stand up happened because I just wanted to be on stage more often. I’m actually an actor by profession, I do theatre with Evam, it’s a Chennai based entertainment and theatre company. One day, a comic friend kinda told me that stand up act is technically a funny monologue and that hit home. So, I wrote a 5 min set and went for my first open mic which went fairly well. Hence, I started writing more comedy, not just stand up, I was experimenting with sketches as well. I started watching more comedy and yea, that’s how it happened.
• Coming from a defense background, was it really easy convincing your parents for choosing an unconventional profession?
~ It was NOT easy. I vividly remember when I was 15, I used to go for these theatre workshops and one day my dad was dropping me and as I left the car he just carelessly said, “Stupid people doing stupid things.” and it hurt enough to be etched in my mind forever. But thankfully after years of rebellion and fighting, they kinda warmed up to the idea that their daughter wasn’t an ideal “Bahu” or “MBA” material. And when I was 18, I did my first paid show and after the show my dad told me, “I had no idea you could act!” and since then they’ve only been incredibly supportive and kind to my dreams. Recently when I took up stand up, they were pretty chill with that as well. I mean, my parents have seen pretty much all my sets and still haven’t disowned me despite me talking about my “lady parts” on national television so, I think they’ve come a long way.
We are heading to a better future, yet narrow minded souls exist and often men speak about misogyny and sexism ~ Saadiya Ali
• “Stand up comedy “- the sphere that you work was not as popular as it is today, what do you think was missing in the past ?
~ I don’t really know. Funny is the new sexy, I guess.
• Do you attribute your present popularity to the reality show of TLC? How was your experience ?
~ Definitely. The entire experience was amazing! We really were treated like Queens. And to meet such incredible people and to learn from the best in the industry, this was 100% one of the best experiences of my life so far. And everything about it was so unlike a regular reality TV show! There were no drama, cat fights, you know people trying to scam us or anything. The whole experience was incredible and I cannot thank TLC and OML enough for what they’ve done.
• It seems from one of the episodes that you have been a thriving feminist soul since childhood, and according to a particular episode you actually spoke about your experience of being sexually harassed. I don’t think it was so easy to enact the whole situation yet you did it flawless. What is your message to women out in the country who keep their mouths sealed, actions numbed, wearables and wishes in hearts in fear?
~ Very simple: We can only make a change through dialogue and humor. Yes, there will be narrow minded people who will throw dirt at you for being so open or they’ll probably focus on “uske saath yeh hua tha!” instead of focusing on the bigger issue that it’s about time, women were treated with respect. Again, not because we’re mothers, daughters or sisters but simply because we are people too. And the only way we can accomplish that is by speaking out. The number of messages I received saying, “what you did and said helped me” almost made me cry! We need to speak up. We need to support each other. And we HAVE to be the change we want to see. Haters will hate, but you gotta do what you gotta do!
• With this whole trend of #MeToo in vogue and innumerable women opening up sharing their stories do you think it will help for the betterment and development of sober safe future for women globally as well as nationally?
~ Yes! 100%. I wasn’t surprised at all to see every single woman on my list post a #MeToo story but I was shocked to learn that half the guys on my list had no idea about what we go through! And these men are now standing up and speaking against misogyny and sexism! Can you believe it? I still have some faith in humanity and I very strongly believe that we’re heading towards a better future. Sure, there’s still narrow minded people around but hey, they’ll probably die out soon.
• You are a Tamilian and Bengali, two at a time. If you are said to choose between following what would you choose and why –
•SAMBAR IDLY / PURI SABZI
• COCONUT / PRAWNS?
~ I refuse to pick one, food is ultimate. I will have ALL!!
•AMITABH BACHAN / RAJNIKANT.
~ Neither. I am TEAM SRK!!! <3
• FISH CURRY / VODKA / GULABJAMUN
~ Gulab Jamuns!!! I live for desserts!
• CROP TOP DENIMS / KANJIVARAM
~ I think people should just walk around in towels. (laughs) Saves a lot of money and there’s no pressure of choosing one.
• Where do you wish to see your self in five years?
~ In an ideal world, in another 5 years, I’d be a successful actor and comedian with 10 dogs and 10 cats and a house big enough to accommodate the whole lot of us!
• What is your message for LaughaLaughi?
~ Stay true to your name! LaughaLaughi karte raho! Haso. Hasaao.