At 24, Mumbai-based standup comedian Navin Noronha is going places. Certainly for his brand of satirical humour, but also because of how unabashedly he wears his orientation. No, he is not afraid of the trolls or the ones who don’t understand. In fact, his latest standup video Being Gay–which takes inspiration from his life experiences and presents it with a dash of humour–has gone viral much like his other works.
In a chat with IndiBeat, Noronha talks about the thriving standup scene in India, and coming out to his friends and family.
IB: How open were you during your college years?
Only my close friends knew. But I never made an attempt to hide it either. If someone asked I told them. And I’m grateful they all got it.
IB: What are the clichéd lines you got after you came out to folks, friends?
You’re f*cking with me, aren’t you? Never would have thought you of all people! How do two dudes do it? Don’t the penises come in the way?
IB: How accepting is the comedy industry of LGBT artists?
Very accepting. This is one of those few scenes where differences are celebrated. Every comic, be it Karunesh Talwar, Zakhir Khan or Abish Mathew, have been nothing but supportive and full of amazing feedback.
IB: Have you been often trolled because of your orientation?
Surprisingly, very less. Some ignorant fools who I have had the misfortune of knowing were the only ones who had a problem. But I couldn’t care less about their opinions.
IB: What’s the best part about coming out of the closet?
The freedom. I lived too long in self-doubt and now I truly feel liberated. It has made all the difference for me. If I had to wallow any more in the closet, I would have killed myself. Literally. It can take a huge toll on younger LGBTQ individuals.
IB: What would be Navin Noronha’s guideline to young people living in the closet?
– Find people who love you for your quirks more than your “plus points”. These are the ones who’ll answer your call at 3 in the morning.
– Prepare for the worst. One thing I did was, getting to a decent place in my life where I could afford to move out. Thankfully, I never had to though.
– Be involved with the queer community. India’s metropolitan cities have seen a significant rise in queer events. Go for them. Talk to people. March at the pride. It will only get easier. The queer family doesn’t judge. Except if your outfit is terrible, of which I’m mostly guilty!
IB: Has the comedy scene in India matured over time?
Yes. From the early days of Bollywood name dropping and Gujarati, Punjabi and airline food jokes, today we see people talking about depression, religion, relationships and much more which wouldn’t have been possible if the scene didn’t attract new and unique comedians.
IB: Is the environment friendly enough for roast sessions?
Not yet. The problem is that the masses are still to catch up with the rest of urban India. It’s all fun and games to talk to individuals who consented to come to your show. But on a wider platform, getting butthurt over anything is just the way of life.
Image Credit: Navin Noronha