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Arunima Maharshi

IWB Blogger

Anuradha Menon Tells Us How She Is Laughing Off The Comedy Of Parenting

  • IWB Post
  •  June 13, 2019

Update: Anu Menon is all set to entertain us once again with her new show called Wonder Menon, airing on Amazon Prime from June 14.

You know her as VJ Lola Kutty from Channel V, the cool South-Indian out-of-the-league 90’s comedienne, yes!

A stand-up artist from an era when ‘stand-up’ was yet to find its place in the mainstream professions, she made a smashing entry, and is as much a favourite of Generation Z, as she will remain of the Millenials.

So now that Channel V has packed up, her Twitter has gone from Lola Kutty to ExLola Kutty, but her alter ego is as live and kicking, as is her humor streak.

Read our candid chat with Anu a.k.a Lola, and tell us if we’re wrong:

Anu Menon on Twitter

Had to give a talk to first graders today on media & communication. 50mins in a classroom with 40 super smart screaming kids and I’m EXHAUSTED!

Seems like those kids really had you on toes! Do you have to face similar situation with your 4.Y.O., too, sometimes?

Oh, he has a terrible sense of humor. Which of course, he has inherited from his father! (Ha-ha). But he’s quite a fun kid, complete chiller, who knows no hurry or worry. Like how we sometimes lure kids with the ‘winner’ title to make them have food; he’s that child who’d say, “I’ll come second or third, why do I have to win and come first only”, you know what I mean! So it’s quite interesting to watch him grow, and needless to say, the one thing that he really has taught me is patience!

Lola Kutty

I could smell the sarcastic-humor tone building up! But you got to check out these tweets:

Anu Menon on Twitter

4y.o to me: Mama I will take care of you when you’re old. BUT I can’t take care of you when you pass away. So little. So dark.

Anu Menon on Twitter

My 4 year old has told his school friends that his mom makes fun of his dad on you tube. Well, now he knows how we pay for said school!

But the mention of addressing first graders also made me wonder about Lola’s toughest audience in all these years!

There was a show I once did, it had me thinking that corpses would have given a better response! They were literally like zinda laash, she laughed. One of those shows that leave you in doubt about whether you have chosen the right stream! lol. It was some corporate event, with “suited” audience, so I told myself that perhaps I need not judge myself.

Lola Kutty

Ha-ha-ha. As our conversation sunk deeper, I could tap on the humor undertone, but was constantly controlling from breaking-out-loud! Keep reading and you’ll know when the dam finally broke, thanks to Lola, of course!

Anu Menon on Twitter

A lot of websites have asked me to write articles on Channel V shutting down & Lolakutty. My funda is simple – I’m not giving you my nostalgia for free.

Now, this tweet has got me scared to even mention it (oops), but may I still ask for a quick glimpse of that nostalgic ‘V’ window?

In the last few days, people have been after me to write on it, but I refused. I mean when you graduate from college, you know you’re not a part of it physically, but it doesn’t mean it’s not there. (True that!) It was my first job yaar, and I was all of 22, and Lola’s character is and will always be close to me. I may not have watched Channel V much in the past few years, but if I look back, I feel happy acknowledging the fact that they took a chance with a layperson that had turned up to them with a totally new concept, and we couldn’t have gotten luckier that it paid off.

Lola Kutty

And as she reminisced… the window opened wide for us

I remember each and everything, all the hate mails and criticism that came my way, for the apparent fun that I made of the South Indian culture. I once received a hate-mail from a man named Bhaichu, I read it and was like, how does he even expect me to take him seriously, his name is Bhaichu, and on that we shared a good laugh! During the days when I was the fattest, Milind Suman once picked me (Lola) up, and I thought to myself, he certainly wouldn’t have picked up Anu of this size, so Lola is definitely in the game!

Lola Kutty

Anu Menon on Twitter

Husband’s family whatsapp group discussing bit coins, speculative traders and GDP. I think I’ve finally found a cure for my insomnia!

 

Which other Whatsapp group is (force) feeding you inspiration for a new set these days?

Oh yes, and I am to write to a set on it soon! It was the third day of my kid in kindergarten and I was already on three Whatsapp groups! Like seriously. And the constantly beeping windows have got me so perturbed; one is forced to live an intrusion filled life with these whatsapp groups!

Lola Kutty

And the best part is that all the mothers are so weary of me, they’d be like, oh we watch your videos, oh you are so intimidating, we hope you’ll not write about us. And I’m like, oh ladies, you are not that interesting also, followed by a cunning laughter! (Hahaha)

Your advice to women ‘stand up’ comedians?

If you are just about to get your feet wet, try an all-women open mic. But once you’ve tested that, do participate in the general open mics! In fact, I am quite anti all-women shows. Go out and test your strength, and you will learn that one should take neither praise nor criticism to heart!

She added, in our society, there exist different rules for men and women so men can comment on things on which if a woman does, she will be questioned upon!

So what do you have to say about that thin line of humor that women are expected not to cross, and men easily can?

I am a relatively clean comedian, which is not a virtue, but just by chance. I don’t swear on stage, though off-stage I might (she wink-laughed). But I can’t joke on genitalia, and not because I don’t find it funny, I just don’t have anything to say on it. Like I was once in Jaipur for a show, and a lady from the organizing team told me that they wouldn’t want any explicit content to be shared, because the gathering might get uncomfortable, and I was like okay, fine.

Lola Kutty

So I think it is all about what genre you are comfortable in presenting, but at the same time, if you’re at someone else’s show and not your own, then you need to keep in mind a lot of factors, and there is no harm in keeping in check of that line.

Thoughts on mention of Feminism in comedy?

Feminism is not a bad word. People are still living in the belief that feminists are some bra-burning women who don’t get their underarms shaved. I mean c’mon people, all that feminism seeks and stands for is equal opportunity to all! How hard is it to understand this!

And “Bro code”! What is your stand on its existence?

Of course, it does exist, because there are less women than men in stand-up, but then by that logic, women are less in number in law also, and in so many other fields. So it isn’t a comedy-centric phenomenon, and not just restricted to India, it is consistent worldwide.

Lola Kutty

I was once doing a show where there were all women and only one man, and poor him must have found surviving in Gurgaon easier than surviving us together, ha-ha. What I’m trying to say is that it’s not just one way, of course, we have to battle more, like we need to reach home early from the late open mics, we have to be aware, not rage, accept things, etc. But hey, we don’t live in utopia, if you want to roam around at 2 am in the night wearing short skirts, you easily can, but ask yourself, is it wise?

Does Anu ever find it tiring to be humorous?

Uhmm yeah, sometimes it can be. People have gotten into this strange habit that when in the company of a comedian, either they want to discuss comedy or want us to be “comic-y” for them. And the mention of which, reminds of this one weird instance, Neeti (Neeti Palta) and I were in Bangalore for a stand-up, and this one guy was randomly chatting with us. He turned to Neeti and said, “but you know what, Neeti, I don’t think you are that funny”. Neeti’s reply to him was epic, she was like, “you know what, I am not performing right now, and you are not paying me!” (Goood one!)

Lola Kutty

And lastly, what moves Lola to happy tears?

Once at a show in Baroda, a guy from the audience came to me and said, “every time I have a bad day or come back home tired after a long day, I watch your show, and life feels fine!” (Awww!) And there was this another time when I was in Bangalore, where a girl approached me to tell that after her father passed away, she saw her mother laugh for the first time while watching me act. Instances as such tell you that it’s all worth it!

This article was first published on November 30, 2017.

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