Devanshi Shah Tells Us All About Making Her Mom Do Standup, Mothers In Greenrooms & Her Upcoming YouTube Release

By Shantanu Sanzgiri 8 June 2024 5 mins read

Devanshi Shah tells us all about her upcoming YouTube release, getting her mom to do standup comedy and what it's like to have a mother in the greenroom.

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Comedians hold a lot of power when they’re on stage. They hurl accusations and make fun of their partners, parents, relatives, friends. But we never get to hear the other side of the story. It’s only natural that they get to defend themselves. That’s exactly what is going to happen during Our Recording Show at The Habitat on 9 June, Sunday, when Devanshi Shah’s mom will take the stage. The Comicstaan contestant is known to riff about her parents and now her mom is going to clap back with a short set. The performance is going to be recorded for a YouTube release.

If that wasn’t enough of a draw already, comedians Supriya Joshi and Tarang Hardikar will also be bringing their A-game because they’re taping material for YouTube as well. The show will be hosted by Jeeya Sethi and headlined by Prashasti Singh. That’s a lot of comedy and the ideal way to close out the week.

Ahead of her performance, we got in touch with Shah to get a feel of her set, how her mom has been dealing with the pre-show jitters and what her plans are for the coming months.

What do you talk about in your set?

My parents have been looking for a boy for me for an arranged marriage for a few years now. They’ve sent me to these events where there are multiple people who are also looking for a match. And I’ve realised that all the women there are kind of sick and tired of this process.  So, the set is about arranged marriage and about a girl going through this entire process. It’s mostly about how my parents are, or how my mother is sort of pushing me in that direction.

Your mom has also performed a few times to get used to the stage. Does she get jitters before the performance or is she a natural?

She has a lot of nervousness. The first time I introduced the idea to her, she was really excited and wanted to do it. So we wrote two-three jokes. I just wanted to see if she can pull it off. For the first performance I gave her three jokes. And like, again, stand up is a lot about traveling and waiting and she doesn’t have that patience. That’s when the resistance started. We started to go from our house to the venue and on the way she was like, “This is such a bad idea. I don’t want to do it. This is stupid. I don’t know why I signed up for this.” Even in the green room she was thinking of backing out. But once she went up on stage she did great. And post that performance, she was talking like a comic, thinking about tags, changing the delivery of certain lines. The second time she bombed a little and went back to thinking that the audience hates her. But when she did well the third time, she really started enjoying it. We’ve locked in on a two-and-a-half minute set for her and she’s excited for her performance on Sunday.

What’s the atmosphere in the greenroom like when your mom is there?

Handling a parent in a greenroom is very difficult. It’s just her presence. All the comics are suddenly so conscious. They were just like, “Who are we supposed to talk about?” I mean the male comics, when they’re in a group, they’ll talk about some random stuff. But as soon as my mom came in the conversation switched to diet or healthy food or something. This one time she was waiting for her spot in the green room at The Habitat and this comedian who had just released a video was talking about how they weren’t getting views. And my mom started mothering him saying things like, “Don’t worry. Just keep putting stuff out. Something will happen.” And I was like, “You’ve come here thrice. What is this expert advice you’re giving this boy?” But it’s nice to see her in this world. This is also my way of making her empathise with what I do.

How did you come up with idea of getting your mom up on stage?

I generally feel like there’s so much content coming out everyday from comedians. And mostly it’s them talking into a mic in front of a camera. So, I wanted some kind of twist to this video I’m recording. In any case, I’m taking a dig at my mother in my material. Naturally, I thought it would be fair to call her and get her perspective in. I thought it would balance the video out. It would be something fresh that has not been done before. In general, a lot of comedians have spoken about marriage and relationships but this is a new spin on the topic. And I’m also very big on ends. I think giving a good end to a video is quite satisfying.

As somebody who has been doing standup for a while, did you give any advice to your mom?

She did not want any advice from me. She would tell me not to talk to her before the performance. Every time I try to give her advice, she’s like, please don’t. At the last open mic, she forgot one line. That show was with Anirban [Dasgupta] and Urooj [Ashfaq]. And she did really well and when she came off stage everyone was like, “oh, you did really well.” But I was the person who told her that she forgot that line. And she was like, “you’re always making me nervous.” She thinks she won’t be able to do it if I give her so much advice. In general, she’s a very jittery person so I have to let her be. You cannot put too much information in her brain.

It’s been a little over a year since you released anything on YouTube. What was the reason behind this break and what made you end this hiatus?

So, one thing everyone would tell me was that you need at least one-two hours of material to keep pushing out videos. I released my first video just when we had come out of the pandemic, I think. And once that was out, I didn’t have any other videos in hand. I had bits here and there but not one solid set. Also, as a screenwriter, I really need a video to have a solid beginning, middle and end. In this particular set that I’m recording, I do have some smaller bits in the middle and wander around but it does have a good structure. It has a theme, a binding thought. That was one of the main reasons it took so long. Secondly, I was running a club and that took a lot of time! We were trying to figure out the recording setup. A lot of rooms had shut down. So there were no means to record stuff.

Are you going to be recording more often?

So, after I release this video I will start working on the next one. I’m aiming to have some sort of release every three-four months. That’s there. Other than that, I’m going to cut this video up into smaller videos and push them out as Reels and Shorts. I’m also trying to post everyday like everyone else. Whatever little thing I can post from my home, I do that. You have to keep at it and I’ve realised that. This video is going to be roughly 17 minutes long, so I’ll get a lot of content out of that as well.

Are you more nervous about your own performance or your mom’s?

I’m very nervous about her performance. The thing I’ve realised is, she does really well mostly. It’s kind of like getting a guitar on stage. Everyone is already very excited. The audience is also very forgiving. But if she thinks she fucked up, then her mood is gone. Then she is going to regret doing it. I don’t want that to happen. I just want her to have fun.

Get your tickets for the recording here.


Shantanu Sanzgiri


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