"I’m a Gemini. I love cheese toasties. I love murder/serial killer shows and podcasts. LOVE." Idle chit-chat with Sindhu Vee
Hey Sindhu, how the heck are you?
Very well. This is 33c weather is ideal for me. I know everyone else has become liquid but I absolutely love it.
What have you been up to today?
Edinburgh admin, eating ice lollies, singing on the way to the high street and getting a lot of dirty looks from melty English people.
I was going to ask if you could tell us about yourself in your native language, but I’m assuming that’s impossible on a UK keyboard, so... can you tell us about yourself?
Aisi koi baat nahin hai. Hindi hum kisi bhi keyboard par likh sakte hain. The problem is not of keyboard as you can see because Hindi can be transliterated into English very easily. The problem is you won’t know what I am saying.
Aaaaanyway, some stuff about me: I’m a Gemini. I love cheese toasties. 2 of my 3 kids also love them. I love murder/serial killer shows and podcasts. LOVE. I’ve been doing stand up for about 5 years. I love living in the UK though I would love it more if it was 33c-35c from May-Sept.
Describe your comedy style.
It's chatty. It's been called dark, which I don’t always see, but there you have it. I am not afraid of being very honest about myself on stage (maybe that gets translated as ‘dark’ because, let's face it, real life is more pits less cherries). I’m a warm and friendly comic, I think. I just want to tell you what's been going on and how I feel about it. I don’t want to change anyone or convince you of anything. Just, as my teen would say, “bantz m8”.
Tell us what you can about your show for the Fringe, ‘Sandhog’ in two sentences.
It's about how challenging it is to fully and truly love anyone - kids, partner, parents. It's about how love is the play between light and dark.
What else are you going to get up to in Edinburgh?
Eat cheese toasties from the van (its called Cheesy Toast Shack, I think?) in Assembly George Square AND from Melt Mongers (got to mix it up). Interact with whiskey. Watch my peers shows and feel so happy that we are all there together doing what we love.
You seem to be taking over the BBC right now, what’s your favourite radio or TV show to do?
Oooh, that's a tough one...I absolutely loved Have I Got News For You....quick witted and joust-y. But radio has a special place in my heart because radio content goes undiluted into people. I mean, you’ll never care what I was wearing when I tell a joke on radio; on TV it's a huge issue for people watching. And also writing for radio has to be so sharp because there are no visual props at all. I loved recording my comedy series Sindhustan for Radio 4. And I adored doing The Unbelievable Truth (because I adore lying).
What can you tell us about the BBC Radio 4 Comedy Of The Week Podcast?
It's a fantastic podcast to listen to and its 10x more fantastic to record. I had the great privilege of meeting some amazing comics because I was hosting the podcast. I think it is unique because you hear some personal stuff from a comic and then listen to their show. There are podcasts that have one or the other but not both. Also, the bantz between host and guests was pretty top notch (just repeating what I’ve heard, ahem.)
There’s a lot of talk about female comedians on TV and comedy bills, what’s your experience of being a woman in the comedy world?
The answer to this is a long and complicated so I will summarise as follows: 1) like in many other professions, in comedy women have to raise their voices to be heard and get an equal footing (which can mean different things in different scenarios - money/intro onto stage/place on the line up/quality of material they’re expected to have before they get a choice spot etc) 2) I feel like there has never been a more positive time to be a woman in entertainment because raising voices and being heard is center stage. And there are many men who are fully supportive of change for women. 3) I used to be an investment banker so I was neither surprised nor particularly intimidated by any chauvinist vibes if and when I encountered them. I call them out if I need to, otherwise I just focus on being so funny that that becomes the vibe.
I liked your stance on the new Facebook ad, can you put into words how manipulative and offensive that ad is?
Facebook has always had an agenda to harvest information for revenues. ALWAYS. We saw - via the Cambridge Analytica debacle - in black and white that it did so in the dirtiest, most terrifying ways. Rather than change (the new FB security requirements are whitewash), it is for putting ads out pretending to be an old friend and confidant. For revenues and power (Zuckerberg’s and Sandberg’s - watch her run for office one day).
Those ads have a blatant gas lighting quality; they simply ignore that we are suspicious of FB; they ignore that we need more answers about our data/they ignore our concerns. Instead these ads push FB’s agenda without batting an eye. And the ads are based around things we love and/or fear -- connection to family/lonliness. Blatant manipulation. Despicable. Facebook has so much more power it just chooses to hammer home a false reality via its ads -- one that we all know is false-- but it keeps making that our reality and putting that on repeat in our faces. Like every abuser ever.
You are on Twitter a lot, so is it a place for genuine discussion and debate by well-informed individuals or a smorgasbord of vile humans arguing with each other?
Both. You just need to curate your feed and know when to look away.
You say you can do any accent, which is your best though?
My mom’s Indian accent. Some people think my best is that of a lady from Huntington West Virginia who runs a flower shop. Horses for courses, I guess.
When was the last time you were starstruck?
When I met Amitabh Bachchan, the best actor in the world ever, in 2013. I wore a saree with the word LOVE hidden throughout the design in the hope he would get it. That didn’t happen but I did make him laugh. I was shaking for days afterward.
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve gigged?
In someone’s living room (there were 4 of us comics) for a birthday. It was a very cozy set up, very informal....as if you had some family and friends over and some of them just stood up and starting telling jokes and the others were listening but also kids were getting up and running off to get crisps and the dog kept moving around the Aunties’ legs. But the person had specifically asked for an MC and for a comedy gig vibe. So we were called on like at a comedy club...except it was the middle of the day in someone’s packed out living room. Very different. But very enjoyable.
What other comedian is worth checking out?
That's a loaded question because I will never name just one. So how about this: besides all the newcomers, I will also be going to see Tom Ward, Fin Taylor, Evelyn Mok, Andrea Hubert, Felicity Ward.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
How do you keep your hair and skin so gorgeous? Answer: I stay slathered in coconut oil as much as I can. Top to toe.
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
When it comes to comedy: weak and black When it comes to lazing around at home, procrastinating: strong black with a dash of coconut milk.
To catch Sindhu's Fringe show you'll need to visit The Pleasance Courtyard any day of the festival at 4:30pm. Tickets are on sale now.
If you want to find out a bit more about Sindhu then you've clearly not read this deep and informative interview, still, she does have a website. And Twitter.