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Vidur Kapur - If only we were all Gay!
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 why!

Vidur Kapur

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'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 relate to.

"...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, 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 and fun?
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 readers?
VK: You guys are fabulous! Come out to these South Asian comedy nights by 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 for upcoming shows.

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