Sydney Comedy Festival – Urvi Majumdar

by | Mar 14, 2024

Urvi Majumdar – Enmore Theatre Thursday 9 May – Sunday 12 May

How would you describe the show to someone who knows very little about it?

‘Burnt’ is collection of funny and bizarre stories from two of the most intense years of my life! The show touches on a bunch of different genres from romance, to heartbreak, sci- fi, supernatural and family drama. Most of all it’s all the things that made me laugh as I worked out what stayed the same when everything around me was changing. Conceptually I was inspired by films like Everything Everywhere All at Once and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, when writing this show.

What sets your show apart from others appearing at this year’s SCF, and why should audiences see it?

Not to be dramatic but I had some of the best shows of my life at SCF last year and I think this show is going to be even better! There’s something in it for everyone. In Melbourne, I was selected for the Moosehead awards which is a grant given by the festival, to shows that show great potential. This has allowed me to work with my award-winning director Gill Cosgriff and we’ve crafted the story carefully so you’re guaranteed to leave feeling satisfied and having laughed a lot, by the end. It may even be the best night of your life… only one way to find out!

What about your show are you most proud of?

I’m proud of how much thought has gone into the structure and writing of this show. It explores times that were difficult for me to go through so I’m proud of the way I’ve managed to process them through this show. I hope audiences enjoy coming along for the journey and leave feeling empowered about their own lives too. I’ve been testing bits and pieces regularly at comedy rooms and festivals around the country and I’ve saved the best for Sydney.

Who or what was the inspiration for the show?

The show explores and is inspired by some life changing events that took place at the end of my twenties. My dad was diagnosed with Leukaemia and had to undergo a stem cell transplant for which I was the donor and thankfully he’s doing much better now. I also went through a breakup after a long-term relationship but right before that we almost bought a house that ended up being haunted (I’m sure of it!). And absurdly this was all happening as I had to really step up and take bigger career opportunities coming my way. I’ve always been fascinated by exploring the concept of the every day hero (or anti-hero) and I wanted to look at what happened when the ‘every day hero’ was confronted by not so every day things (actually, huge, life changing things). Having been a comedian for almost eight years now, I naturally put a comedic lens on the dramatic changes around me and I’ve put all those observations into this show. It’s wanky to bring up Fleabag but I’m inspired by the use of soundscape in the theatre performance of Fleabag. Finally, when I studied literature at uni we learnt about the concept of ‘entropy’- a theory that the universe is just increasing chaos and this felt fitting to my life and those around me right now!

  How long was the process from idea to writing to stage? Any challenges along the way?

The ideas in this show have been brewing for two years as I’ve collected stories as they happened real time. Now I’ve had a year to process them and choose the funniest bits as they were also the richest learning moments for me. I’ve been juggling creating a web-series adaptation of my first solo show Urvi Went to an All Girls School for ABC Freshblood which is set in 2010. So jumping between the world of year 12 me and adult me has felt absurd at times but it’s also been a great way to chapter my life.

What attracts you to comedy and how long have you been involved?

I love comedy for many reasons: the friends and community I’ve found, the audiences who give immediate feedback through their laughter (or lack of if a joke needs more work), the way it allows me to define my voice and also because it’s so much fun. I’ve been doing comedy for 8 years and always worked full time alongside. However, at the end of 2023 I was lucky to have enough opportunities to plunge into comedy full-time and I love that there’s still so much for me to learn.

 Who would you say have been your biggest inspirations?

In Australian comedy I’m always inspired by the comedic storytelling and voices of Nath Valvo, Becky Lucas, Nina Oyama, Anne Edmonds – the list goes on! In writing this show, I’ve loved working with my ‘colleagues’/close friends Prue Blake, Charlie Lewin Bronwyn Kuss, Alex Hines and Lewis Garnham- some of them have shows in Sydney you should check out! Internationally I love Cat Cohen, Aparna Nancherla, Kate Berlant, Kaneez Surka and simply too many more!

What are three things that would surprise people to learn about you?

People think I’m really chill and relaxed when they don’t know me well. Those close to me know that I’m actually chaotic with mild anger issues. I can spit from the bottom of my tongue- something I learnt from afternoon television as a kid watching Backyard Science. I sleep with a hot water bottle 365 days a year, even in summer, sorry!

What comes after the SCF for you?

After Sydney I’m off to Perth Comedy Festival for the first time! I’ll be working on some TV writing after that before heading to Edinburgh Fringe in August

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