"Going up on stage is me venting."

Meet Suchita Lal of Horn Ok Comedy! She is a part-time IT manager in the morning and a stand-up comedian by night! Read more about her amazing journey about getting into comedy, and what it means to her below.

11/27/2021 7 min read

Hi everyone! I got to interview the outrageously funny and charismatic Suchita Lal of Horn Ok Comedy. She was a refreshing burst of energy through her humorous jokes and wonderful laugh. Through this interview, I learned the importance of following my own path (if you are of course getting money through a reasonable way as Suchita highlighted) and not dwelling on your regrets. Horn Ok Comedy is an amazing South-Asian-based comedy club in Manhattan that holds events to uplift and bring laughs to the city! Read more on her work as a producer of this show and some of the essential lessons she learned through her life while taking an unconventional path.
Introduce yourself and talk about what you do in Horn Ok Comedy.

Hi, I am Such or Suchita. I am 29 years old. I work in IT and I do my comedy and stand-up as a side thing. I am a project manager by day and comedy stand-up/comic by night! I am brown and everything, and I basically had the idea to co-produce a brown-only sort of comedy show. There’s a lot of us! No matter where we go, which part of the world we’re in; there’s always a lot of brown people. Even though we don’t want to spend money on unknown people, I think it’s important to tell the younger crowd “hey there’s a lot of us!” Even though it might not be our main source of income, it is something that you can still do! That was basically the idea. 

How did the name Horn Ok Comedy form?

The name of Horn Ok Comedy was a bit of a mixed thing. In India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and all those areas, there are these old cargo trucks that have all over wood paneling, and what they do is that they paint the trucks themselves and they want you to honk at them to let them know where you are at. To let you know when to honk, they write “Horn Please Okay”, but the way they write it is “Horn”, with a giant “okay”, and then it’s a “please” after. So I was like okay, maybe we can do comedy or just “Horn Ok Comedy” because it’s a brown person thing! There’s nobody else who would know “Horn Ok Please” or “Horn Ok Comedy” is.

So that was the basic idea. You know, there’s a lot of brown people, like some are fresh off the boat. There’s also a lot of people who were born in the US. It’s still fun because it attracts a broader audience because you were born here, or you came here at a young age, it all still applies. The brown experience is what everyone experiences.

What is it like being a producer of Horn Ok Comedy?

It’s a lot of “gopher” work. You have to run around and you have to go find people. Some are newer, some are older, and have been doing this for a while, so you have to find time slots, and the day you plan out. Since we work exclusively with Broadway Comedy Club, thanks to them they are very supportive. They’re like “yeah, we’ll give you the night”, and everything. So, we got a Friday night and we got the time slots, and we have the comedians set up. Our biggest hurdle of course is basically selling tickets (like marketing). That is always tough. There are so many other things happening, and there’s always this thing of “why should I pay for somebody who isn’t famous”, which is very rampant in the brown community. In the end, it worked out because everyone enjoyed it!

How was your first show in Horn Ok Comedy?

We had our first show on October 29. It was a success! We pulled quite of few people, and what was fun was that we also had non-brown people! Even though it was majority brown, we had a good mix of people. It was nice to see everyone in a room together having fun. I thought this was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen! People who weren’t brown also had a great time. These are people who never went to shows before and say, “I’ve never had this much fun before in a comedy show”. They thought everything we said was fun and relatable! I think that’s what’s so new and unique about this; even if your experiences are uniquely you, that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t apply to everyone! 

It started as a brown person comedy, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have an appeal to everyone. So I think, that was something new and interesting that we found out.

What got you into comedy?

It’s a mix of things. I’ve always been a very creative, artsy person but I’m also super nerdy. My dad got me into building things, while my mom was very artsy. I ended up in IT because it was between a doctor or engineer, and engineering seems less crazy to me. I’ve realized I don’t want to sit in front of my computer for hours, so I decided to go into management. It’s kind of like a loophole, I don’t program but I tell people to program. 

I’ve had that creative side to me, but what also happens is that you experience a lot of things and people are right that if you want to get into art, you have to experience the full spectrum of emotions. You cannot truly express yourself unless you had a timeframe in which you experienced depression, anxiety, or something similar. And I did. I was in an awkward position with my job and I had my visa issues and everything; it was just a very soul-crushing time. I was very frustrated, very angry, and depressed. And there’s also this brown pressure of what are you doing with your life kind of thing. All of that just builds up. That experience made me realize that I have to get this out there. If I don’t laugh at this, I don’t know what else I will be doing. So I just wrote something down, and I was like “you know what, let me try this in standup” because this seems funny and I told my friend and she thought it was funny too. I was in Virginia, and I went to an open mic. That’s basically the start of it!

I did it 3 times in Virginia. Then I moved to New York and thought why not try it again properly. That was the origin story. 


What is your favorite part of being in stand-up comedy?

This might sound funny, but I’m an introvert so interacting with people in the morning makes me feel done. But going up on stage is me venting. For producing, I enjoy making people laugh. If you come in and I make you laugh, that could be for something as small as a pun. Like my favorite pun is based on my name (Suchita Lal) so if anyone has red-green colorblindness, they wouldn’t be able to see me because I am such I’m “Suchitala!l” It may not be the highlight of their day but I made someone smile! Seeing the whole Horn Ok Comedy is like me telling brown people, it’s okay to be you! You have a lot of conflicting emotions, you want to rebel but you don’t know how to do it, and I get it. I’m just up there telling you, “Hey! I’m here and I’m doing this and also the IT thing. And it’s completely fine!” It’s me trying to tell people that they are valid in what you want to do because look at me, I’ve done this and I’m still here.

What would you tell other South Asians who want to pursue stand-up comedy but are afraid to actually start?

All the pressure, all the depression, the anger, the frustration, and everything you’re going through in your life, I still think if you want to pursue comedy you absolutely should because for me comedy is basically me taking all my anger and basically recycling it. Artists are the world’s greatest recyclists because we take as horrible as depression and anxiety, and we turn it into something funny to give it out to the world and make them happy!

One of my jokes is, I tested positive for an STD and it was a horrible experience. At the moment, I was frustrated and then Covid-19 happened so I couldn’t even go back. So I went to the doctor when I could and she told me it was a false positive. At that moment, I was crying of relief due to the whole anger I had to sit thinking that “Oh my god, how did this happen?” Then I realized, it’s sort of funny from an outside perspective. I recycled that because if you put it across, you recycle it into something funny. It eases the burden for you and it makes me feel better about it while making someone else feel happy.

Even when you get into things with your parents, (like how your parents always compare you to Sharma Ji Ka Beta), you know that happens. You know just take the pain, recycle and change it to something fun!

If you are trying to pursue comedy, take notes of all the bad things that are happening and turn it into something funny. This is the basis of all comedy because the first thing they tell you is that comedy is tragedy plus time. Any tragedy after some time will become funny. Many comedians suffer from depression, and I don’t want that for anyone so take your depression and turn it into a good weapon. Don’t worry about what other people say because they won’t do anything.

Any final thoughts?

Horn Ok Comedy is a brown person show and we want brown people to come and appreciate the stand-up. We do this so you can understand and appreciate your culture. We just want you to know that yes, we are here, we are loud, we are proud, and it’s just who we are! We are at Broadway Comedy in New York City. Our next show is on December 5th, 2021 and we are hoping for a larger crowd! Everyone can come and have fun!

I hope you all enjoyed this interview with Suchita Lal of Horn Ok Comedy! Once again, she is amazing so please check out their Instagrams (@laughinglassi and @suchita_lal). See you all soon with the next interview!