Heckle Again

Many many moons ago, one of the things on my bucket list was to attend a live comedy show. [Please don’t judge the ease of my my bucket list item; this was one of those throwaway tasks that I could cross off and not feel awful of a ginormous list of unfulfilled hopes and dreams.]

Yes, the comedy show. I was following a Twitter handle that advertised a for-charity comedy event for stray dogs. The tickets were 500 bucks apiece, and my boyfriend at the time and I decided to go.

It was in a fairly upmarket restaurant, with a little space, for events such as these, at the back. I forget the name of the restaurant though. Anyway. Off the august line up, I recognised nobody. The opening acts were nice: the first being a rank newcomer, who stammered a little poor thing, but had good material; and the second being, Sapan Verma, a fun comic, who we thoroughly enjoyed. The main attraction was Aditi Mittal.

Now to be fair to her, I am not really well-read in terms of pop culture, and it isn’t a reflection on her that I had no idea who she was. She is a fairly renown comedienne, and props to her for that. Her material was mostly feminist, and I found it quite fun overall. My boyfriend? Not so much.

He didn’t mind the feminist stuff, because he was a feminist too. What he objected to was that she sort of heckled (probably not the right word) me.

One of her bits was about this vaginal tightening cream, 18 Again. She asked if anyone had heard of it, and before my dearly beloved could react, I had raised my hand.

The reason I had heard of it was because, when I had spent 3 weeks in Bangalore a few years prior, I saw advertisements for 18 Again lining lampposts. Now, I am a huge ad junkie, and I love trying to reverse-engineer the creative process in my head. These ads immediately stood out to me, because they were 1) Exclusively marketed to women; 2) Clearly a cream or gel of some sort; 3) Contained no explanation of what 18 Again actually was. I was intrigued. The only other ads I have seen with this level of vagueness were for contraception. More specifically, for condoms. And while there was a blurry, softly lit picture of a caressing couple entwined on sheets, I think it is safe to say that condoms are meant exclusively for men.

So what was 18 Again? Was it a contraceptive a woman could take? I was not on the pill, and I figured it might be a good option to explore. So I Googled it: “Femininity restoration cream.” Yeah, no. Pass. That’s how I knew what 18 Again was about.

Back in Aditi Mittal’s audience, of course I wasn’t able to explain all that. Also, I am well aware audience members get heckled for comic purposes. And so, it was no surprise when Ms. Mittal looked at me in feigned outrage and shock, and said I needed help for going looking for that sort of product. I get it, it is funny.

Except, I would never heckle anyone. So it wasn’t my idea of funny. Embarrassing someone for a few laughs is a cheap shot, and honestly really good comedians don’t do it.

I shrugged the whole episode off, but the French Student was super pissed. And eventually, I wasn’t all that impressed with comedy scene after all. How disappointing.


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