|Vidur Kapur - If only we were all
|Let's admit it, don't we all just
want to be as gay as possible? I mean when you're gay, you're happy right? Well, no one
can make you realize this more than the man himself, Vidur Kapur. Read on and find out
|by Peta Cooper
What's it like growing up gay and living in India?
Hmmm... isn't that an oxymoron? To be gay and to be Indian - no way! Vidur Kapur speaks to
us about being Indian, gay and maintaining a career in comedy and writing. Recently he
performed at Intense Management and DesiClub.com's Comedy Night in New York and had the
audience roaring with laughter.
Peta Cooper: When you do stand-up comedy, what type of
material do you include in your act?
Vidur Kapur: My material is taken from my experiences and my life. I
talk about my experiences growing up in India as a pretty obviously "gay" boy,
and about how "screwed" I was discovering I was gay in India of all places. I
talk about there being no visible gay community, basically one lesbian, who liked men! I
also talk about my parents' reactions to me, and worse still the reactions of my cranky,
battleaxe of a grandmother! I talk about how I was teased at school and what I learned
from these experiences. I also talk about my fantasies as a child, such as wanting to be
an Indian goddess with multiple arms so that I could multi-task!! I also discuss a lot of
our cultural contradictions as Indians, how we don't know about sex or sexuality while we
are the ones who wrote the KamaSutra! I talk about how we are pressurized into
conservative and "prestigious" careers by our parents and how that led me to
come to this country to pursue a Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Chicago. Which
was not a good fit. It was like getting Alan Greenspan to do the Catwalk! I also talk
about my experiences living as a gay Indian in America, and about the difficulties being
stereotyped as "Indian" in a predominantly "white" gay community and
what kinds of stereotypes we as Indians are subjected to. I also discuss some of the other
difficulties we face as Indians in New York, how we have to work extra hard and put up
with all kinds of bullshit to get a Taxi. I talk about my challenges of being single in
New York and how I have set out to find myself a partner! I also discuss the upset I felt
when people told me I look like a terrorist after 9/11. Basically a lot of my material is
derived from painful experiences, because pain is fertile ground for comedy, its our
survival instinct! I have had the fortune of living in a lot of places, India, England,
Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, and having dealt with a lot of characters in my life,
so I also portray a lot of these colorful characters in my act, my grandmother probably
being the most popular one.
PC: Being an openly gay Indian male, how does the
community respond to that?
VK: I have been amazed to see how well the community responds to me.
I headlined at the Intense Comedy Night on June 26th and it was one of my best performing
experiences! I felt totally connected with the audience!! Straight or gay, I think we as
South Asians share a lot in common, and people want to hear about these experiences,
especially to see if someone can find and express the humor in them. We are looking for
something that we can relate to, and I think the fact that I share a lot about my life
experiences, both men and women, whether straight or gay can find something that they do
"...Indian men are either hot or ugly, there's
nothing in between!"
PC: What do you think of the "Intense Comedy
Nights" produced by Intense Management, DesiClub.com and Meri Mehndi?
VK: I have only done one night, June 26th and it was awesome! The
crowd was amazing, the club wasn't big enough to fit everyone. They were there and they
are ready to listen, laugh and have a great time. These comedy nights are a great success
for the comedy clubs, the artists and the management and are obviously filling a huge
demand in the South Asian community. I feel pretty certain that this is the beginning of a
huge wave of South Asians in stand up comedy and a way of making them visible in the
American comedy industry and Hollywood.
PC: So how helpful do you think such an event is for up
and coming comedians? And Why?
VK: I think these events are great and extremely helpful to up and
coming comedians. I hope their visibility increases in mainstream media and on TV. Up and
coming comedians need to have role models, as crazy as me! Moreover they need the
encouragement to express themselves and talk about their experiences. Comedy is a unique
art as it takes talent, but also the ability to share yourself and your experiences with
an audience. Events like "Intense Comedy Night" are a vehicle to provide South
Asians a vision of how to pursue their dreams and to feel free to pursue alternative
careers that they feel passionate about and where they can express who they are.
PC: How do you make controversial subjects seem so light
VK: It's the controversial subjects that are the most fun as they
are fraught with pain and emotion and therefore have the most potential for comedy. Comedy
and sense of humor, in my opinion, are part of the survival instinct humans use to deal
with pain. I like to talk from my experiences, as they are true and nobody can dispute
them. They are my experiences, observations and perceptions and the material is taken from
my life. I can therefore take whatever liberties I want to find the comedy and fun in
these experiences and to make light of them and make people laugh. Laughter is therapeutic
and so even if you bring up a really controversial topic and then turn it around and make
people laugh, they appreciate you even more for that.
PC: Ok, let's shift gears, where's the most bizarre place
you've ever had sex?
VK: The most bizarre place I have ever had sex at is my bedroom!
Why? I'm going to leave that to the imagination of the readers. (laughs)
PC: The ladies out there share their gripes about Indian
men, but what are some of your gripes?
VK: Indian men are either hot or ugly, there's nothing in between,
right ladies? Maybe a few shades of grey would be nice - do we have to have only the polar
extremes? Also, the ones who have the money don't usually have the looks, so our ladies
have to make huge compromises. But one thing all Indian men do have in common is that
whatever they look like hot or ugly they think they deserve to be with the most beautiful
women. Come watch me act this out on stage.
PC: What would you like to say to the DesiClub.com
VK: You guys are fabulous! Come out to these South Asian comedy
nights by DesiClub.com and Intense Management and lets make our presence felt in the US
media, television and entertainment industry. We are Desi, we are here, we are queer, if
you are, so get used to it!! Please look at my website www.vidurkapur.com for upcoming shows.
Visit this Desilicious male's website: www.vidurkapur.com.
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