For “Peacock Rebellion” co-creator Manish Vaidya, stand-up comedy isn’t just entertainment—it’s a space for healing, empowerment and social change.
“People are open to so much when they are coming to be entertained,” said the Bay Area-based performer and organizer, who identifies as non-binary and uses the pronoun “they.” ”There’s so much radical potential there.”
As they described in a new story from KQED, Vaidya turned to comedy to deal with their struggles as a ”scrawny Hindu, queer, closeted, disabled kid in Catholic school in a really White town where one of the main extracurricular activities was the KKK.” They created Peacock Rebellion, a collective of artists and activists that brings queer people of color together for creative events and workshops that build community. One of those workshops, Brouhaha, trains participants in stand-up comedy and offers performance opportunities in popular stand-up showcases.
As Vaidya tells KQED, the workshop creates space for performers often overlooked or discriminated against in stand-up settings. ”We just wanna make the art, get paid for the art and get our stuff out there,” Vaidya says. “We deserve to have access to high quality training without the bullshit.”
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