Do you know why Vatsyayan wrote "Kamasutra"? To sell scented oils
to white people! Or so says popular New York-based stand-up
comedian Vidur Kapur, who will have you in splits with more quirky
answers like this one.
Originally a Delhi boy, Kapur's comedy is a heart-wrenching mix of
theatrics, pathos, irony, self-depreciating humour, ready wit,
gentle ribbing and scathing sarcasm that comments on social
realities and pokes fun at the self while at the same time laying
bare human frailties.
"It is the way comedy is moving now," Kapur told IANS on the
sidelines of a show here.
He is in India for a week.
In India, comedy is growing as a genre, he observed. "It has a
market. People react to comic acts. The audience is hungry for new
faces and new issues," he said.
Contemporary comedy is a reflection of the changing society, Kapur
An example: "Ten years ago, the Indian dream was, 'We will go to
New York one day and see the Empire State Building'. But India has
changed. Now they say, 'We will go to New York one day, buy the
Empire State Building; and name it Rangarajan Niwas..." he
The young comedian of Indian origin, who has performed single
comedy shows across the US and the globe - breaching the colour
and sexuality divide - has been described by Fox television as a
"comedian to remember".
Kapur is gay. And he has something to say on that too. "I was born
premature. The nurse handed me to my mother and said,
'Congratulations, it is a homo...".
"I have been in a relationship with a Jewish New Yorker for the
last seven years. It is like 35 years in a straight relationship,"
he said, casting a laughing spell on the audience at The Park New
Festival of Emerging Art and Culture in the capital over the
He was among the top 10 finalists on "New York's top 10 Funniest
Stand-Ups", a part of New York's Comedy Festival and a finalist
for NBC's "Stand Up for Diversity" initiative.
An alumnus of St Columba's School in New Delhi, Kapur went to
study at the London School of Economics and at Chicago University.
"But I did not like my job as a management consultant and head
hunter. I worked for the meanest and most racist woman on
earth..." he said with a comic twist.
He threw it up to become a comedian after a brief stint in a
"I think stand-up comedy - single act - has arrived in the
mainstream as legitimate theatrical performance. It has grown as a
genre because of the internet which has given comedy an
universality. I have a large following on the internet," Kapur
He has been influenced by the likes of African-American comedian
Richard Pryor and stand-up American comic artist and satirist
William Melvin "Bill" Hicks. "They pushed the boundary and spoke
of stuff that has never been talked about," he said.
"I have to talk to people about my sexuality in my acts too...you
have to be honest in comedy. In India, I have to educate the
audience that does not know what to expect...," Kapur said.
The performer is heading to the Middle East for a multi-city tour
beginning with Bahrain this week.
Chatterjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)