Vaidehi Murthy is a funny girl. By posting a seemingly unending number of plays on words and observations on everyday absurdities, Murthy has won over the Twitterverse with her unique brand of humor. The platform has become the go-to place for both established and emerging comedians, and twitter comedian's growing following makes her future look bright.
The Garden City native is an unabashed admirer of the internet and of all things Indian, which makes her punchlines often center on trending topics and carefully selected observations. As is the case with most things, getting a joke to work online requires a lot of practice. Her account, which is now over 10 years old, has taken a long time to become deeply planted within the comedy world.
We caught up with her over email, to discuss the ins and outs of her infamous puns:
Which came first - the jokes or the Twitter account?
My friends from the 90s with a few deficit hairs will vouch for the fact that it was the terrible jokes that came first. Facebook was where I would jot down these one-liners, just to get them out of my system. Twitter happened much later.
So tell us a bit about yourself! Where did you study, how old are you, where do you live, what do you do now? Give us the download.
My Aadhar Card seems to say I’m 32, but we all know the government lies. I’m just about as Bangalorean as they come. An electronics engineer from South Bangalore. I’ve lived here my whole life, barring a couple of brief but memorable stints abroad. I currently lead social media content at Dunzo (the hyper-local delivery app). My career path has been winding to say the least. From being an IT Engineer, to teaching in schools at Ladakh and Vietnam, to working in healthcare, to being a content writer, to now, I’ve savored every bit of the crazy ride.
Was there a comic in your family, or is your talent innate?
Talent? Pshhh! I grew up in an Indian joint family. Let’s just say, comical situations weren’t hard to come by. My sense of humor was, is, and hopefully will always be just a way to keep myself entertained. Nothing more.
The whole point of creativity is to be novel. Where you find your inspirations?
I’m sort of allergic to monotony. I try to change my circumstances from time to time. And if that doesn’t happen, I change my perspective. Be it a situation, person, thing, or a phrase, there’s typically an unseen angle. You just gotta tilt your head.
Do you feel like you gravitate toward particular themes?
In terms of topics, not particularly. However, the ‘Who called it this and not that?’ format I find, is a convenient way to succinctly put across an instance of wordplay.
Why do you think puns appeal to you so much?
One of my favorite images is that of a cylindrical object casting its shadow on two adjoining walls. On one wall, the shadow appears as a circle, and on the other as a square. The concept that the same word or phrase can be interpreted to convey two very different ideas completely fascinates me. Plus, I find a certain comfort in the frivolous nature of puns.
Do you feel like you could separate yourself from your jokes? Is there a division between art and artist?
Just like me, my mood likes to travel. I find myself in a different zone every now and then. If you look at my Instagram, there are no puns or jokes. That’s who I am as well. For your whole personality to adhere to a single facet, I feel is one dimensional, and a missed opportunity to explore other sides of you.
It seems like every tweet is a win. Do you feel like there’s pressure to keep doing it, to maintain a certain standard?
Not a single bit. I do it for me, not for validation.
Do you think your followers try and build off your jokes? Have you seen any that you’ve liked?
They do! There are a few regulars who diligently churn out puns related to mine, often better. I find all of them absolutely delightful. It’s fairly common that a pun thread runs long. A pun-battle of sorts. There’s a thread punning on Indian city names, and another one on lentils which are my top picks.
What are the most annoying sort of comments you receive?
People on the internet can be rather vile. But honestly, comments don’t annoy me. Like I said, I don’t take any of it personally. I simply don my negativity cancellation headphones and tweet on.
Do you see a future in performing stand-up, or is the internet where you’re most comfortable?
I’m not really funny in person. I only sometimes write funny. For now, I’m good where I am. Who knows what the future holds?
Has your online persona ever met the real life you? Has anyone ever approached you to say they've loved your writing?
Online or real life, it’s all just me. There is no persona, only the person. There have been instances where folks have been very kind to come up to me and compliment me on my writing. It feels embarrassing and wonderful in equal parts.
What are some other twitter accounts that you think are cool?
@dog_rates has to be my undisputed favorite. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t spend too much time on twitter. It’s a wormhole. Apart from the scroll-through on trending topics, I just post and leave.
What’s something your social media followers don’t know about you?
They probably don’t know what I ate for lunch today. And with good reason.
What’s your most used emoji and why?
The facepalm one. Fitting I suppose, considering that my perpetual reaction to most things in life is ‘ButVai’?
Featured photo by Vaidehi Murthy.
You can find more of her fantastic one-liners here.