Comedy preview: Sindhu Vee

Sindhu Vee

Sindhu Vee - Credit: Archant

The St John’s Wood comedian brings her show about family, relationships to Soho Theatre

Before she walked into a funny women workshop, Sindhu Vee had “spent as much time thinking about being a stand-up as I did about being an astronaut”.

But after experiencing the high of making an audience laugh, the stay-at-home mum became borderline obsessive about her newfound career.

“Falling into comedy was a fluke,” says the St John’s Wood comedian.

“It wasn’t a career even for an Indian of my generation, I didn’t even see it as an option. It was something that people out there in the West did.

“But connecting with the audience, having them on the same page so they laugh when I laugh was such a gratifying moment that something fell into place, It hit me hard, that’s when I knew. I had to be on stage. It was a compulsive need to do it again.”

She has gone on to win several awards, perform her first Edinburgh show this year and appear regularly on the comedy circuit.

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Now working on a Radio 4 series, Vee’s show Sandhog comes to Soho Theatre in January and deals with marriage, motherhood family and “deep sh*t like when you love someone but can’t bear to be in the same room as them”.

Vee quit her banking job to raise her children, but says stay at home parents aren’t honest about how tough it is.

“Banking isn’t a good job to combine with three kids and I missed them, I know it’s an incredibly lucky position to be at home with them, but women don’t talk about what a pain in the arse it is. I was 13 years at it. You are supposed to be running around feeling great but kids are not there to give you self esteem. You have no intellectual stimulation, no identity, you are in a bubble.

“You meet these women who used to be a CEO and are now at home baking and saying ‘this is the best thing’ and I think: ‘I will wait for you to have your breakdown then we can talk, becasue that sh*t will hit the fan.”

While she doesn’t regret her home-making years, she says “you should be aware going into it how much you have to suck up”

“Thank God it’s so gratifying on a meta level because on a micro level you just feel sh*t about being so sh*t at it all the time.”

Vee, who was brought up via the Philippines and Delhi, has a 17-year-old and two pre-teens ,but remains “vague” about them in her routines.

“There’s such a line between your civilian life and being a stand up and I don’t want them to grow up and be like ‘you never asked’.”

She’s more forthcoming about her parents who “visit a lot and stay for ages”.

“As an Indian family your parents are always living with you or always on the phone. My mum loves coming to watch me and is supportive to a fault, she made dad come on a night when no-one laughed and he said ‘I don’t think anyone understand the calibre of your humour’.

“I don’t know anyone whose mum isn’t at some level driving them bananas but mine is always telling stories at the table, she’s hilarious and would have made a great stand up.

“She’s far more naricssistic than I will ever be, like those comedians who are convinced that if the audience doesn’t laugh it’s their fault.

“I have my showmanship from her but I have my dad’s sarcasm.”

As for marriage she says the show is about “how hard it is to totally and completely love anybody in an age when we are brought up to feel it’s a birthright to have time to ourselves and be happy”.

“Sometimes in life there is no space to be happy and no-one gives a sh*t what you need. There’s so much sacrifice involved and that’s very painful, but who wants to live without love?.”

“In marriage, beyond a certain point, you are both struggling with how it’s not the world’s most exicting thing. It becomes a massive cooperative management of a household. I don’t think there’s a right way to do things that makes it romantic if you want kids.

“But you can be funny and talk about the bits that suck. People who watch my show say they can identify with the fact that for grown ups living is a series of frustrations.

You can’t get rid of, but you can try to see the humour in it. One woman said ‘I can relate to it but then my husband and I had to go to Relate!’”

Sindhu Vee is at Soho Theatre from January 7-19.