One look at actor-comedian Jamie Lever Instagram would make you realise her calibre and talent as an artiste. Her hilarious videos, spoof videos mimicking various celebs often get her praises from fans. But it hasn’t been a smooth road for Jamie, daughter of veteran actor Johnny Lever, as she admits facing several challenges initially in a male -dominated stand-up industry.
“When I entered the industry, I saw myself as an artiste and I never let the gender issue get to me so much. I was competing with some of the males out there, but I thought it doesn’t matter whether I am a male or a female, I just wanted to create space for myself as an artiste and that was my challenge,” she recalls.
In that moment, all Jamie was just searching for was who is in the market and who are the reigning comics. “I just had to do something to make a mark for myself and that was my motivation. I never thought that I want to become the next big female comic,” she adds.
Jamie’s focus was to work on herself, and her uncle (Jimmy Moses) and father helped her during the initial days. She says, “I started working on myself internally to make myself stand out. My father and my uncle played an instrumental role in prepping me in making me the artist I am today. Both mentored me and guided me on how to write and make jokes. I had singing, dancing, and acting, and even speech diction classes.”
It was during that process of prepping, when she realised that actor’s voices, accents and characters is something that she can do and it looks good on her. “So, I started watching a lot of videos to catch the body language, speech, and tonality. The skills that I worked on in the beginning, helped me in carving a niche for myself,” she tells us.
The 35-year-old feels that the females were usually the punching bags for jokes for male comedians. “We would never get the punch line, but we were the butt of the joke. The males would always throw the punch lines on us, instead of us delivering the jokes. I didn’t quite like that. It wasn’t just me, it was all the other females who were on the show. The general perception and the society’s mindset at that time (10 years ago) was that women aren’t funny, hence we weren’t given a lot of lines. But, after a couple of years, I gained a lot of confidence and started standing up for myself. I don’t blame anyone for not offering us much, but we had to prove ourselves.”
Jamie also talks about how she began her mimicking journey, and shares, “It all started when I got my first job at Comedy Circus. In that show, one of the things that was required by us as actors was impersonating celebrities. Doing accents and mimicking was one of the main requirements. Because of that, I started mimicking more people. I was able to mimic some actors, but never thought that I could make something of it.”
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(With Inputs from hindustantimes)