Stand-up comedy that isn’t slapstick, but more of a social, political and cultural commentary, is a relatively new business in India. And as one of the first women to boldly ride that wave, Aditi Mittal has made quite the name for herself. Known for her wry humour and sharp tongue, this self-confessed ‘global village idiot’ is at the Fringe for the first time this year, all the way from Mumbai.
Mittal opens with a story about her first Edinburgh experience, and by using a classic Edinburgh symbol (no, not Bobby) – the seagull – she gets a lot of chuckles from the crowd. She covers a lot about modern India, from Bollywood movies to religion, and the very common question that every Indian millennial abroad invariably gets – ‘How is your English so good?’ Mittal has a brilliant response to that, which I’m sure I’ll be using next time!
With a very mature style, no topic is off-limits; there are a lot of poop jokes – and these got plenty of laughs, so it looks like Mittal has judged her Fringe audience well. Occasionally though there is a dip in the merit of the content. I’m not laughing at yet another Brexit joke, and neither is the rest of the crowd.
Mittal did seem nervous at the start, though she settled down about ten minutes in. And some ‘Indianisms’ in her English don’t translate very well – for example, what is usually termed a ‘convent school’ in India is actually a Catholic missionary school. But these are minor points; most of her observations are witty, and very relevant to the modern world with its new genre of problems.
Overall, she lived up to my expectations and the name she has made for herself. It is nice to see that behind the acerbic Twitter persona is an honest, confident woman trying to make a dent in a male-dominated industry… and faring much better than she did with that seagull in Leith!