After working in the comedy scene and finding success in front of the camera, things really took off for writer Nelu Handa behind the scenes when she appeared in Season 1 of Baroness von Sketch Show. Handa soon joined the writers’ room on Baroness and has never left, including writing on the upcoming Season 5. She also has written on both seasons of the CTV comedy series JANN. By making her mark both in front of and behind the camera, Handa has been able to keep pushing for more and more on-screen representation.
One major point of impact Handa has made was on JANN in Season 1. As part of our Women Behind Canadian TV series, she recently detailed the driving force behind what led her to make a suggestion in her interview for the show that pushed for more representation. She also shared why other young writers shouldn’t be afraid to do the same thing, and what it’s been like working in largely female writers’ rooms on series like JANN and Baroness. Handu also discusses what led her to create YAS Kween, the monthly comedy show for those who identify as Women of colour/ethnicity (WOC) to share their voices and develop their craft.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
The TV Junkies: How did you get into writing for television? What was your journey into the business like?
Nelu Handa: I started in business, in the corporate world, for 10 years. I started doing improv in 2010, and that evolved into me getting an agent. From there, I booked a commercial, and when that contract was up, I realized I should dive in head first to this career. At the beginning, I was doing a lot of acting and comedy roles. I then got a new agent and did a sketch on Season 1 of Baroness von Sketch Show.