Stand-Up Comedy and the art of Political Propaganda – A true story

Editor’s note: The following is a submission from one of our readers who attended a comedy show. He/She doesn’t want to reveal his name for personal reasons. 

What was supposed to be an outing with my college friends helped me figure out the true nature of our Stand-Up comics. I along with my College friends attended a Comedy event where Vikram Poddar, Varun Grover, Karunesh Talwar and another new comic (whose name I can’t remember) performed.

Vikram Poddar was playing the role of a host cum standup comic. He warmed up the crowd, introduced the comics, took over when they left and he did all this very well. He joked on himself, some observations, and some jokes on the audience. But in his entire set, he made no political jokes. In fact when he was picking on some Gujarati members of the audience, I expected some jokes on Modi but he steered clear of any reference.

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Next up was Varun Grover. I follow Varun Grover on Twitter and I am aware of his Political Stance. And as expected, he devoted 50% of his time to jokes on Narendra Modi. Of course there were no jokes on Rahul Gandhi or Kejriwal. To be fair, his jokes were on very valid topics, like Modi’s monogrammed suit and how it was a fashion disaster and how ridiculous the stories in the Bal Narendra comics were. But what irked me were the blatant lies he put through his jokes.

Grover attempted to suggest that Modi himself had got his suit stitched, and the resultant story of “gift” from some businessman was all a cover up. I was shocked to see him lie like this, because I read the truth on itself. I remember the reactions of some of my friends who are not very politically aware. They naturally ridiculed Modi for narcissism. Grover also ridiculed the suit auction idea, asking whether it was an artifact like a Shivaji sword etc, which deserved auction. Personally, I wouldn’t mind auctioning Grover’s underwear, if it raised money for worthy causes, but it’s a different matter that it’s worthless, just like Grover’s twisted argument.

Karunesh Talwar came up next. I do not follow him on Twitter so I had no idea what were his leanings, but he made them clear from the first sentence. “I did not vote for Modi, nobody should have. I don’t support someone responsible for genocide” was Talwar’s opening statement. This deliberate ignorance of rulings of multiple courts shows a deep hatred for Modi which has now reached a boiling point, because he became the PM. When someone laughed at a Modi joke, Talwar reprimanded him by saying “People are watching, Aaj raat teri gaand mein Trishul ghusega”.

To be fair to Talwar, unlike Grover, he made 2 jokes on Rahul Gandhi. But the only Kejriwal reference of the entire show was a positive one, calling him a “different” politician. Talwar ended his set by again directly indicting Modi for the Godhra riots with a parody song which depicted Modi singing how he crushed Muslims in Godhra and destroyed all the evidence. This is subliminal messaging at its peak, the last thought which the audience goes out with is Modi is mass-murderer.

And of course, the entire show was peppered with the choicest abuses. Chutiya, Chutiyapa, Chutiya kata, Gaandu, Gaand, were just some of the words used in reference to Modi and his actions. It was an AIB roast all over again. Of course for the roast, the argument for using abusive words was “we took consent, we are all friends”. I wonder if Modi or anybody else gave their consent to get abused on this show.

In summary, my problems with this show are:

1. Blatant lies being propagated by likes of Grover to further their political agenda.

2. Disregard for India’s judicial system by likes of Talwar, where even though courts have pronounced someone as innocent, self-appointed paragons of justice continue to sully names of people they hate

3. Fear mongering by the likes of Talwar that Modi’s goons will “stick Trishuls up the asses” of people who mock them

4. Profuse use of abusive language, which as the law stands, is an offence ( although I am personally ok with this stuff)

5. The façade of being “neutral” by such stand-up artists when it’s clear where their political affiliations lie

6. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: The hypocrisy of such Stand-Ups who one hand cry that Freedom of Expression is being throttled in Modi’s India, and on the other hand proceed to spread lies and hatred for Modi, day in and day out via their “comedy shows”

To be clear, I am a Modi supporter. I voted for him because I felt he was the best option. This doesn’t mean I can’t take Modi jokes. I laughed at the factual Modi jokes, or the ones which didn’t emanate from hatred. But I couldn’t laugh at lies. Even my apolitical friends felt both Grover and Talwar went overboard with their hatred for Modi. And we also found the only Non-political comic, Vikram Poddar, way better than both Grover and Talwar.


P.S. I wish to remain anonymous because I fear I might be tracked down from the ticket I purchased for this show. I am not important enough to have a hash tag trended in my support.

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