If you’ve been on Twitter from before 2014, you’d have known most of the current lot of standup comics as regular people who would occasionally tweet funny tweets. Of course, with time, the Indian standup comedy scene, which initially relied heavily on gender stereotyping and sexism, are now portraying themselves to be gender sensitive, responsible influential personalities who should not be cracking politically incorrect, offensive jokes.
Recently, standup comedy in India has become a tool for political propaganda, which is evident from a cursory glance at their tweets. Yesterday, comedian Vir Das tweeted how standup comedy is about taking a dig at the ruling party and how they have always taken on the Congress when it was in power, but Congress supporters hardly ever ‘abused’ them for their political viewpoints.
Comedians make fun of the govt IN POWER when they do funny shit. We took on the Congress for years and no one called us right wing or BJP supporters. So when we take on the BJP….the flip isn’t true. Just because your support is obsessive doesn’t mean ours has to be.
— Vir Das (@thevirdas) November 20, 2017
Twitter users, who have perfected the art of calling out hypocrisy, got to work and pointed out how Das, and other comedians for that matter, never quite were as aggressively critical as they have been of the Modi government. In fact, not only were they soft on them, they were even all praises for the previous government at times.
— Indian National Con (@desimojito) November 21, 2017
In 2012, Dr. Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister of India, but Modi jokes were still a rage.
— Ankur Singh (@iAnkurSingh) November 21, 2017
He had few more ‘scathing’ attacks on Narendra Modi back in 2013, in anticipation of him becoming the Prime Minister a year later.
I dream of an India where Narendra Modi cant even get a shoppers stop membership card without accounting for charges against him first.
— Vir Das (@thevirdas) March 5, 2013
And there were more adulation for the ruling party, Congress.
Adios Manmohan Singh. May history remember you as a bad orator in a bad party with a good heart, a great mind, & a giant 30 yr contribution.
— Vir Das (@thevirdas) May 17, 2014
If this was sarcasm, it clearly didn’t shine through. And perhaps what was more tragic, is that after having declared that he is an equal opportunity offender, he was singing praises of a Government that has proven to be the most corrupt government in India.
Earlier, too, Twitter users had ripped him apart for asking stupid questions after doubling up as economic and policy watchdog.
As a wise person once said, anyone can be a comedian. Being funny is much harder.