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#HerStory with Pooja Nataranjan

Pooja is a corporate lawyer by day, a comedian by night, and anxiously dramatic by the hour. She was on Comedy Central last year which she refers to as her personal revenge against 2020. She likes to cook, clean, and dance - all at once, so she can exhaust herself into doing what she truly loves - sleeping.

When I got into GLC, Mumbai in 2012, I thought “the city is my stage!”. But life happened and priorities changed. After 4 years of hard-work, I landed myself a job with a tier-1 firm with a year of law school to spare! I made a bucket-list of “things to do before I graduate” and went up on stage for my first stand-up bit in January 2017. It was my one last stint on stage before committing artistic hara-kiri. By the end of those 4 minutes: ABORT hara-kiri!

But stand-up requires consistency, dedication, and a very thick skin if your jokes bomb. On a side note, a career in law sets you up for amazing thick skin (with complimentary baggy eyes). But due to work, I would miss open mics and couldn’t write new material. By mid-2018 I almost gave up.

I then found out about “improv” and took lessons over weekends. I kept trying to get back on stage, but work was a hurdle. Mid-2019 while learning advanced improv, I formed a troupe “No Script Attached” and performed at the Bengaluru Improv Festival. I knew I had to take a decision. I quit my job in late 2019 and joined a firm which encourages people to have a life outside of work. I became an improv “regular” because unlike stand-up, I did not require a script. Not saying improv is easy, but the time commitments are corporate-lawyer friendly.

Then 2020 happened…..and I got featured on Comedy Central. It was a new beginning. I have started regularly performing both stand-up and improv. I also joined another amazing improv troupe “Mischief in Action”.

Nope—it hasn’t been easy. I have missed performance opportunities and gotten shamed for wanting to have a life. But, I think I have a good deal. This lawyer by day, comedian by night business is hectic – but at least I am happy! And I haven’t been this happy in a while.

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