Even while watching the AIB show, I was taking guesses as to which jokes would piss off what kind of people of.
There’ll be the saffron idiots who would take offence to jokes on sex and penis and vagina (because they were born by rubbing two logs of wood, adding ghee and setting fire to the yagna). Then there would be those who would whine about respecting parents and family and not exceeding lines.
And when Tanmay Bhat cracked the joke on Modi, a few million Modi fans pausing the video, signing out, and moving on to Niticentral to obtain some quality knowledge on India and the world.
Whether the show was funny, if abuse was necessary, or if the gender and colour jokes were required – can be debated endlessly. But one cannot deny that the show was much needed in a nation like ours, where we have kamandalus stuck up our asses when it comes to swearwords.
The entire debate on swearwords in India is skewed in Ashtavakra ways. Elders ask youngsters not to abuse, and yet we have all seen our fathers with their friends – a few stray ones spill out before they realise you’re in the room. We are fine with racist jokes – chinki, madrasi, sardar – and yet, a motherchod is blasphemous.
Among friends, abuse and swearwords are accepted, but only among them that belong to what we like to call ‘close friends’. Swearing is seen as cheap and classless in native languages, while tossing around the F word (if you are fluent in English) is neo-cool.
And don’t even get me started on humour.
As a nation, we might have achieved many things. A sense of humour is not among them.
We have a fucked up notion of what’s funny, and anybody who doesn’t toe the line can go fuck himself fly a kite. Look at our films, for example.
The joke is always on fat, gay, goofish people. Go through the list of Indian cinema’s greatest comic actors, and they are all oddball characters who are either fat, or short, or dark – the kind who clowns around, gets bashed up by the hero, gets drunk and sings a song – that’s our idea of funny. Even in mythology, there are very few instances of people making fun of the other, and they end with gruesome consequences – Draupadi mocks Duryodhana and sparks a war; Shishupala mocks Krishna and is shown the finger – from which a shiny Sudarshan chakra appears.
A joke is supposed to be cracked on someone stupid, or evil. But good people should never be mocked. It is alright to laugh at Rahul Gandhi, but not at Narendra Modi. Somewhere deep within our psyches, we have come to relate a joke not as a harmless taunt, but as a grave, personal insult.
A GUIDE TO WHAT YOU CAN JOKE ABOUT IN INDIA
|CAN JOKE ABOUT||CAN’T JOKE ABOUT|
|Rahul Gandhi||Narendra Modi|
|Congress/AAP supporters||BJP supporters|
|Arvind Kejriwal||Narendra Modi|
|Jesus||Allah You Know
As the show came to an end, I knew these guys were in trouble.
And I wasn’t wrong. If there is one thing we have developed as a nation – it is our predictability.
MNS, that rogue party that beats up people from other states, threatened to boycott Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh’s films. An ex-Censor Board chairman published a comment that deserves a Pulitzer Award for the greatest Tweet written by a penis. There was general hue and cry about aping Western culture.
And then people went back to watching Comedy Nights with Kapil, that artful show which has the most sensitive, tasteful jokes this side of Syria.
But what can I expect when we are ruled by a party that believes in controlling culture and morals along with CRR ratios and currency rates?
Which is when I realised the masterstroke!
We, the unfunny, smug nation that we are, deserve this.
We will whine and complain and crib, while All India Bakchod will rake in the money.
Their show will be downloaded on Torrentz, performances will sell out to packed audiences. Every time a politician cries foul about declining morals, a teenager will light up a joint and laugh her lungs out.
The joke, truly, is on us.