Sapna Kumar is a stand-up comic and actor who has appeared on LOGO TV’s “One Night Stand Up 9″ and NBC’s “Last Comic Standing 4.” Here she sheds some light on what’s it like to be a funny lady in Chicago, angsty folk singers and what makes her Rebellious.
I did plays starting from junior high onward. I studied theater in college and creative writing. I liked writing my own material, too, and I knew that from being on, yes, the speech team (geek club) in high school. So I started doing stand-up in college and did my first paying club performances at the age of 19.
What did your parents say when you told them about being a comedian?
They thought it was fine as long as I didn’t quit my day job. I quit many a day jobs to take paying acting or comedy work and often ended up with regret. As we know, short-term jobs don’t last forever. I think they always accepted it was a part of who I am, but they taught me to be self-sufficient–financially and so forth. In other words (hear this in the voice of a parent) “The day job must come first.”
What’s your day job?
My next job will be in digital content production at an educational publisher. It’s short-term, for now.
What’s the most fun gig you’ve ever done & why?
Not necessarily a gig, but shooting the indie feature film “Promise Land.” Kevin Dalvi is an awesome indie film director. I admire his energy and enthusiasm. I also got to work with my old pals from Rasaka Theater, like Kamal Hans, Fawzia Mirza, and Anita Chandwaney. It’s a brown family affair!
What was the least fun & why?
I don’t know. I can’t think of a specific one, but I remember getting a good kick out of those variety nights where the venue has booked angsty folk singers, overly political poets, and then a loudmouth comic like myself. The asynchronous lineup always seems to confuse the audience. They laugh at the angst and cry at the comedy. Ya know what I mean?
Who’s the coolest comic you’ve ever worked with and why?
Sonya White. She’s not just a touring national headliner. She’s a coach. She’s encouraging and tells you what’s what at the same time.
You’ve performed before both GLBT & straight audiences — any differences between the two?
Not so much anymore. The only time it gets weird is in smaller Midwestern markets.
Where do you get inspiration for your act?
My crappy life.
Are there challenges to being a South Asian comic? If so, what are they?
What advice would you give to female up-and-coming comics/actors?
Where can people see you next?