The first thing that we learnt from the Amazon Original series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is that men aren’t the funny gender. Remember how growing up women sought someone who could make her laugh? How sense of humour in men was a necessity and in women, a rarity? This series not only debunks this myth, but also falsifies whatever hypothesis it originated from. That is the first lesson for the Indian comedy scene. That women are bloody funny, and without the unwarranted sexual assault component thrown into the mix.
Similarly, there are a few other lessons that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel doles out which are pertinent for the Indian stand up comedy scene!
1. Comedy Without Crutches
Real comedy doesn’t need crutches; it doesn’t need over the top paraphernalia. The sketches are neat, they are clean, they are to the point. The writers of these sketches ultimately only rely on their wit and their observations. Not on arbitrary roasts or insulting caricatures. There’s a reason that cult favourites like Padosan, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Chupke Chupke are considered to be comedies without pomp and ostentation. They are primarily written well with a tenor of empathy so they can evoke familiarity in audiences without using techniques that are offensive and unnecessary.
2. Women Can Be Pretty And Funny
Firstly, we are terrifically happy that India has never ascribed to the above point as an ‘or’ situation. Comediennes in India have been both articulate without trying to add that smidgen of masculinity to pass of people who can crack a joke. The titular character of Mrs. Maisel is a straight up uptown princess, one adorned with pearls and silk, yet she can be humorous at the drop of a hat, using a bit of vileness as well. Most importantly women are no longer at the butt-end of jokes or used as tropes – but in the cycle, pulling punches as they go along!
3. You Don’t Need To Self Deprecate
Eliciting humour from self-experiences is one thing, self-deprecation is a completely different thing. One which exists in plenty. Mrs. Maisel is a character who has had a down and out luck in the show, and there isn’t a single shred of laughter that is elicited by self-pity. And even if there is self-pity it is masked by sheer astute irony and sarcasm. The idea is to draw empathy not sympathy, and the best way to do that is by simply finding the little serendipitous comical moments in your duress!
4. You Are Your Best Audience
Self-awareness is key in understanding how a comedic narrative can be derived. Your true self, riddled with vulnerabilities and anxieties, is also the self that comes up with the nuanced theatrics and the jokes. Hiding yourself in order to be funny is a tactic that will soon make you a repetition in a genre of overused humour. Bring yourself up in the most raw self, draw on your ingenuity, your quirks, your originality – not on a trend. Even if that means failing in the first few try. A comedic legacy is built upon a signature style, not one that is borrowed.