New Delhi: A differently-abled person enters the stage and the audience bursts into laughter. Sounds rude? Not when it is comedian Sundeep Rao.
Partially blind, Rao’s expertise as a comedian lies in his ability to laugh at himself — laugh at his disability.
“Every woman in the room is looking beautiful. Obviously, my partial blindness has got nothing to do with it,” is his opening sentence as he walks on to the stage.
Rao, who was one of the speakers as the recently hosted ‘Shift Series — Closeted Conversations’, was diagnosed with a condition called ‘juvenile macular degeneration’ at the age of eight.
Since then, he has only used his disability to his advantage, bringing down jam-packed halls bursting into laughter.
“I am a stand-up comedian, and people expect me to give an inspirational talk. They say, ‘Sundeep come and inspire them’.
But, to me all of this makes no sense.
“I agree only if they assure me good money. That’s how I am inspired to give such talks,” he says, with a straight face.
For Rao, one of the major disabilities that most people suffer from is the “inability to laugh at life’s problems, challenges and inadequacies”.
Talking about his recent marriage, the comedian says he was “diagnosed with a wife” recently, but his confidence that his wife would never leave him is uncanny. Why?
“My wife will never leave me, because if that happens then she will be considered the super bad person who left her poor blind husband.
“This is fantastic. This is what I call the benefit of being disabled. People in India will always see you as the nice guy,” he says.
Having yet another laugh at himself, and his wonderful marriage he says, “She decorated our bathroom with plants.
Only one of them happened to be a cactus.”
With the Trump reign, NRIs seem to have become the butt of all jokes, and Rao is not behind.
Taking a dig at Trump’s immigration policy, and its impact on the Indians there, he says, “Whatever is happening in the US isn’t really our concern, but then I realized even the H-IB visas could be banned.
“This means our cousins, the ones with inflated egos, a false sense of accomplishment, and a fake accent will be coming back. Now, this is scary.”
Leaving the audience in splits, he goes on to say, “These cousins come back with the arrogance, and say, ‘hey man, back in California, I used to do adventure sports, like bungee-jumping, skydiving do you have that in India?’ I say, ‘Adventure sports? Cross the road.
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