Putting herself on the map
Article from the Sun daily by Rachel Law (posted on 9 June 2016)
GROWING up with a diplomat for a mother, Luwita Hana Randhawa got to experience her childhood and teens (literally) off the beaten track. She has called South Africa and Brazil her home, pursued her studies in film and theatre in New Zealand, before taking up improv (comedy) in New York.
"My first ambition was to be a screen actor; to make and be in films. But then I realised I'm not a traditional actor, in the sense that I wouldn't want to live my life going for auditions, presenting monologues and waiting for people to select me. That's why I went for comedy, because then I can just make my own stuff," revealed the 27-year-old.
Although she's established herself in the local comedy scene for four years now - being shortlisted in UK's Funny Women Awards and presenting two sold-out shows along the way - the England-made, Seremban-born is not limiting herself to delivering punchlines, nor is she retiring from nomadic life.
"My end goal is actually television. I'm working to base myself overseas, so I need to keep performing as much as I can and keep writing. I want to be on a show or sitcom," shared Luwita.
Where do you think you got your funny bone from?
From my mama. I'm kidding. That's an interesting question. My dad. He's not funny like in telling jokes, but in a social situation he likes to be a performer a little bit, saying things that people would laugh at.
You've performed in so many countries. How different is it for you to perform overseas and at home?
For me the biggest struggle has been operating as a third culture Malaysian in a Malaysian scene that favours local flavour. It's hard for me to have a 10/10 show here - the laughs I get tend to be tepid.
There's always a slight disconnect with the Malaysian audience which is difficult because as a performer, audiences like you more if you're relatable.
It's partly my fault, because as a writer I haven't figured out how to connect with them. I might be a little too white because I talk about things like Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah Winfrey, but Malaysians like to hear about what's around them. That's not their fault, and it's not mine either. But the disconnect keeps me behind, I would say.
Where do you think you shine brightest, then?
I did a show in New York last year at the Greenwich Village Comedy Club. A lot of my set was new stuff, and I touched on a lot of things that had to do with popular culture. The crowd really liked it. It was good to know that somewhere, my set would resonate. So that felt really good.
Speaking of New York, we know you adore (actress, comedienne and writer) Mindy Kaling and met her there! What do you love about her?
I met her at the 2014 New Yorker Festival, it was really amazing. At that point in my life, Mindy meant a lot to me because I started to cut down on socialising that year and the year before. I spent more time on my own, and a lot of what I did was to watch TV. One of the shows that I really liked was The Mindy Project, which she created and starred in. In some ways, Mindy was like my spirit animal.
Tell us about District Lumper and what can we look forward to next?
My end goal is the screen, so a good way to work towards that is to make sketches. District Lumper is an online video collective I started last November with two other comedians to make little sketches. Sketches are the next phase for me, in terms of comedy.
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