Get-hooked August 19, 2020
Partially blind comedian Sundeep Rao highlights real life stories of resilience & hope
Life Gone Wrong, hosted by partially blind comedian Sundeep Rao is among the most popular podcasts on Spotify today. The podcasts brings to life real life stories of ordinary people who have overcome challenging situations.
From people who live with disabilities to cancer survivors to someone who has experienced a divorce, Sundeep Rao celebrates the human spirit in his podcast Life Gone Wrong. A partially blind comedian, Sundeep brings out stories and experiences of people who have coped with challenging circumstances.
“I want to focus on the change that comes with loss and how people fight back”, says Sundeep who was diagnosed with macular degeneration when he was eight years old. Be it Life Gone Wrong or Thank You, I’m Sorry, an earlier show on YouTube, what comes across in his shows is a certain honesty. Be it coping with visual impairment or depression, Sundeep is upfront and candid about his experiences.
Diagnosed with disability when he was 8
A former IT employee Sundeep stumbled into comedy later in life. It was in 2009-10 that he first got on stage for an open mic competition. Initially, he was not comfortable with talking about his disability on stage.
“When I started off in comedy, I did not have my own voice. I would make generic observations about family, arranged marriages, Bangalore, etc. but didn’t sound that natural as I would memorise and literally vomit out the jokes. I never addressed my eyesight on stage because it was too new and having that layer of disability did not seem like a good idea”.
In 2011, Sundeep took up comedy full-time.
I made half hearted attempts to talk about my disability but it didn’t work. Then a psychologist friend told me it was important that I accept my disability and realise it is not something I can get rid of. He said that either I risked living with it without people knowing about it and falling. Or see it as a filter to the world. Making my vulnerability an armour, he said, would give me a chance to drill deeper into issues. – Sundeep Rao, Stand-up comedian
Comedian, storyteller, podcaster
Being partially blind is just one aspect. “I didn’t want to label myself as blind to people because you get defined by that and then other aspects of your being don’t get their due. There are other aspects that are part of the entire package like being insecure or issues regarding commitment to relationships”.
Sundeep is clear that he does not see himself as a spokesperson for the disabled community. What he is interested in bringing forth is the resilience and spirit people show while coping with challenging situations, irrespective of disability.
“While I would love to be one of the voices for the disabled community, you can’t identify just one person. You can be a transgender who has a disability for instance. If talking about it and having discussions helps make some people aware, that would serve some purpose. Even if we can change one person’s attitude, they get the right kind of tools to understand it”.
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