Roast Roast Na Raha…

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.


                   CAN JOKE ABOUT                CAN’T JOKE ABOUT
Rahul Gandhi Narendra Modi
Sreesanth Sachin Tendulkar
Congress/AAP supporters BJP supporters
Ravana Rama
Sardars Marathis
Arvind Kejriwal Narendra Modi
Pakistan India
Jesus Allah You Know Who

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.

9 thoughts on “Roast Roast Na Raha…

  1. Rajat Jain

    Its interesting you point a finger at the saffron brigade and hindu gods etc. Lets look at the facts more closely (lets take it on face value: I’m a BJP supporter but not a fanatic. I’m an AAP supporter too, again not a fanatic).

    – MNS threatened on all the stuff, not BJP.
    – AIB had to apologize to the Christian community, not the saffron brigade. Read the latest news.
    – Modi fans have not created furors over this issue (at least not that I know of, and not that I see in news websites)
    – (repeat point) You said its okay to mock Jesus. Its the Jesus community to which AIB apologized.
    – Still haven’t seen any government action taken from the Maharashtra govt (the CM of which is from BJP).

    I agree the saffron brigade (particularly the RSS) has its problems, but why drag them needlessly into some issue when the problem is elsewhere?


  2. vishalbheeroo

    Spot on. We take offense at the slightest jokes when we swear in public. The c and F words and yet we feel so offended. Sad that our mind is fucked up to the core and we need a mental masturbation to laugh at ourselves.

  3. mihir (@mihirsclick)

    In a nation where movies like Grand Budapest hotel flops while crap like humshakals, happynewyear, housefull, etc is vomited out every year in the name of comedy, and also make truck load of money while doing so, you are absolutely right in implying that we don’t know what humour is.

    Our tolerance level for each other and culture is also a diminishing day by day. All those who sit up in their righteous chairs and tell us that we are the most tolerant nation; please look around where you live,probability is extremely high that your immediate society is populated in majority by one religion or caste. How can we be tolerant if we pack ourselves as per our lifestyle and don’t allow others with different viewpoints live in the same society itself.

  4. Vaibhav Dinkar

    @FunnyGyan : Dude , thanks for shifting the debate on the quality of jokes .that is how it should have been from the beginning.
    Iv had many discussions about the Roast with my friends and many liberal types have an opinion that
    1. celebs should keep out from abusing such language as they are the role models.
    my simple response to them was ,-stop treating them as one .Who told you to make them role models. you are welcome to pick and choose your role models . Pick Alok Nath for godsake .

    2. Next up – ” women (read deepika ) talk about empowerment but still be a part of such foul events . kal ko inhe dekh kar girls will start abusing”

    Clearly the guys hav never been in a 5 KM Radius of a girls hostel.
    I told him to find and watch the Pamela Anderson Roast. You’ll learn a thing or two about women empowerment.

    BTW Where are the trolls today??

  5. FunnyGyan

    I don’t know how you came to the conclusion that you can’t joke about ‘Marathis’ I am a Marathi and I am totally fine with such jokes. That image of intolerant Marathis is just because of crooks like MNS and Shiv Sena. Personally, I avoid stereotype jokes of all kinds, be it Madrasi, Marvadi or Sardar. There are better ways to create humor. I prefer situational comedy over potty humor, like Pu La deshpande. His essays were genuinely funny and rich in satirical observation!

    About the roast, I did watch it on YouTube. I found it above average. They started it on a good note but the show lost its momentum somewhere in the middle. The so-fat, so-black gag was done to death. It became cringe-worthy after a while. In fact AIB’s own videos (Check out Thank You My dear Congress or Nayak 2) are way better than the Knockout. May be because it was a first time live event, many jokes didnt work that well, But yeah, it was a courageous attempt. Admire them for that.

    BTW, what’s even the point in mentioning/insulting Kapil. Is he even a comedian? AIB is clear in their head space with an aim to crack offensive racist jokes, while Kapil is like the Johnny Lever of 90s, Plain crass!

    (P.S. There was a debate on a channel about AIB roast where a “spiritual leader” declared, Pakistan and ISIS are funding AIB to destroy “Indian culture” LOL)

  6. Ashish

    You’ve hit the nail on the head with this one. I wonder, if you hit it hard enough will it actually sink into the collective, humorless conscious we all seem to share?


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